Feeds

Wiseguy ticket scalpers used botnets to outwit Captchas

Badfellas bust a captcha in your (super)dome

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

A gang of ticket touts have admitted that they hired networks of compromised PCs to defeat CAPTCHAs that would normally have thwarted their plan to automatically purchase tickets for high interest events.

The trio - who operated a firm called Wiseguy Tickets (now there's a name you can trust - Ed) snapped up tickets for gigs from the likes of Bruce Springsteen concerts as well as Broadway productions and baseball playoffs before selling them on to legitimate ticket brokers at a hefty markup. The tech-savvy crooks hired Bulgarian programmers – paid between $1,000 and $1,500 a month – to set up a network of PCs programmed to purchase tickets from the likes of Ticketmaster, MLB.com and LiveNation.

Using the technique, the scoundrels were able to complete ticket applications far faster than legitimate purchasers. For example they scored 440 tickets for a Springsteen gig in July 2008. The miscreants signed up to thousands of cut-out email address and registered hundreds of fake corporations to disguise their fraud.

The "Wiseguys" successfully ran the scam for seven years between 2002 and 2009 before they came unstuck last year. An indictment filed back in March in the US blames the men for "fraud, deceit and computer hacking to make more than $25 million by acquiring and reselling more than 1.5 million of the most coveted tickets to concerts, sporting events and live entertainment throughout the US".

LA residents Kenneth Lowson, 41, and Kristofer Kirsch, 37, both pleaded guilty to a variety of hacking and wire-fraud charges over the scam at a court appearance in New Jersey on Thursday, Bloomber (via The New York Times) reports. Joel Stevenson, 36, admitted lesser hacking charges over the same scam.

Sentencing is due to take place on 15 March next year. A fourth suspect in the case, chief financial officer Faisal Nadhi, remains at large. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.