Ticketmaster has agreed to pay $10 million for hacking into the network of its rival, CrowdSurge. Both Ticketmaster and Its parent company, Live Nation, admitted to hiring a former employee from the rival ticket seller and using his knowledge to break into the company’s network.
Ticketmaster had also used the employee’s knowledge of old usernames and passwords in breaking into CrowdSurge. The company is alleged to have harvested business information during the break-in.
“Ticketmaster employees repeatedly — and illegally — accessed a competitor’s computers without authorization using stolen passwords to unlawfully collect business intelligence. Further, Ticketmaster’s employees brazenly held a division-wide ‘summit’ at which the stolen passwords were used to access the victim company’s computers,” according to acting US attorney, Seth DuCharme.
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According to court documents and reports, Live Nation had hired a former CrowdSurge employee named Stephen Mead in 2013. At the time, Ticketmaster executive Zeeshan Zaidi and other executives encouraged him to reveal his old employer’s secrets. They also encouraged him to log into pages with analytics for artist management companies.
In addition to password theft, Mead revealed that his old employer used non-protected but difficult-to-find preview links for their ticketing pages. Ticketmaster made a spreadsheet of every ticketing page it could find, identifying the artists who were using CrowdSurge’s service and dissuading them from doing so.
Ticketmaster lost access to the system in 2015 coinciding with CrowdSurge’s merger with Songkick. Songkick then sued Live Nation and Ticketmaster for violating antitrust laws. However, it soon sold or shut down its services. In 2018, it accepted a $110 million settlement plus an undisclosed sum to sell some of its remaining assets to Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster fired both Zaidi and Mead in 2017.
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