Feeds

Wiseguy ticket scalpers used botnets to outwit Captchas

Badfellas bust a captcha in your (super)dome

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Know what Ferguson city needs right now? It's not Anonymous doxing random people
U-turn on vow to identify killer cop after fingering wrong bloke
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
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.