Feeds

Wiseguy ticket scalpers used botnets to outwit Captchas

Badfellas bust a captcha in your (super)dome

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
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.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.