Businesses, especially the large ones, are the usual victims of cyberattacks. However, there are also instances where these businesses become benefactors and even perpetrators of such attacks.

When the defender becomes the attacker

December 31, 2020, when BBC News website posted an article saying that Ticketmaster, a California-based ticket sales and distribution giant was fined $10 million due to ‘intrusion’ charges when some Ticketmaster employees acquired stolen usernames and passwords from their rival company, Crowdsurge to gain an advantage over them.

According to reports, an employee of Ticketmaster and a former employee of Crowdsurge collaborated to gain access to some Crowdsurge consumer accounts. This shows that the greatest cyber threat is from the inside.

All forms of cybersecurity measures will be rendered useless if someone from the inside will leak information out or open back doors for attackers. Security is built on trust and once that trust is damaged, things tend to fall apart.

What happened with Ticketmaster raises not just a cybersecurity concern but also a business ethics issue. Trying to ‘hack’ your rival company to gain an advantage is clearly not a good business behavior and affects healthy competition between firms. Unfortunately, Ticketmaster suffers the consequence of one of their employees’ acts.

On the other hand, it is good to hear that it was discovered. The hack happened when a former Crowdsurge employee leaked critical information to his former employer’s rival company despite signing a confidentiality agreement upon separation.

The event stresses how important human actions are in cybersecurity. Installing a state-of-the-art security system is just half of the job. It’s important that we constantly remind our employees about good ethics and the possible effect when they get careless.

The importance of information

How did Ticketmaster take advantage of the information leaked to them? Well, the URLs given and user account credentials gave Ticketmaster access to Crowdsurge’s computer system and see which artists plan to use Crowdsurge to distribute event tickets. Ticketmaster used this information to snoop clients and effectively steal them from Crowdsurge. They also got access to the Artist Toolbox, an app that allows artists or any Crowdsurge client to monitor ticket sales.

With this information, Ticketmaster gained an advantage over them. This shows how important information is in any business. In the competition for clients, knowing who your rival’s potential clients give you an edge when sealing deals.