The Risks of Electronic-Tickets

The Risks of Electronic-Tickets

It is safe to say e-tickets are here to stay, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve worked out all the kinks in this new way of showing proof of purchase when boarding planes, going to concerts or entering a sports arena.

Organizations that don’t offer mobile ticketing these days seem to miss out, but that didn’t stop the NFL from blocking fans from entering Levi’s Stadium for Super Bowl 50 with e-tickets. Fans were able to buy tickets online, but they were not able to show the ticket from their phone or print out the ticket from their home computer.

StubHub shared their security measures put in place when dealing with Super Bowl tickets. Each year, people who would like to re-sell their tickets must FedEx or drop off their tickets at the StubHub office in San Francisco or to the satellite location in the city of the Super Bowl. From there, ticket experts evaluate the ticket to ensure that it is not a fake.

“The most important characteristics of an e-ticket are authenticity ensuring that the ticket was provided/associated from a valid vendor and integrity ensuring the ticket has not been changed or altered prior to receiving the ticket,” Chief Marketing Officer, Mobile, Cloud, & Security Technologies at Thales e-Security, Peter Galvin said. “Barcodes are the cornerstone for authenticity and integrity for most e-tickets, so ensuring the bar codes are digitally signed and are verified using cryptographic properties is the best way to ensure the ticket is as secure as possible.”

The Super Bowl ticket colors are not released until the Tuesday before the game, giving counterfeiters less time to work. Ticket experts check to make sure the holograms on the tickets are there and also check to make sure the seats actually exist. Sometimes those who make fakes get it wrong.

When the ticket has been identified as authentic, each is given its own envelope to protect from dust and dirt and is placed standing up to keep the ink from rubbing off. After the tickets that will be resold on the site have been inventoried, four StubHub employees walk the tickets down to a loading dock accompanied by two armed guards. The tickets wait in an undisclosed position until pick up time.

Starting on the Saturday before the big game, StubHub customers can come to the satellite location and pick up their tickets with proof of ID.

So why go through all the trouble? Galvin explains that e-tickets aren’t as secure as we think, and the NFL’s decision to cut them out was to protect the fans.

“The biggest risk with e-ticketing is security and fraud,” Galvin said. “In many cases, consumers purchase tickets online and then print them at home, so without strong authentication (as with the unique bar code) fraudsters could just print up a load of tickets.”

With huge events such as the Super Bowl, A-list celebrity concerts and even airline tickets, identity thieves see an opportunity. They know that consumers will be looking for the best possible deal, and may skip the necessary precautions to ensure they have purchased an authentic ticket. If a consumer does get caught up in the scam, it may be days or even months later when they realize their ticket isn’t real and by then their money is long gone and the thief may have stolen more than that.

If done correctly, however, e-ticketing can be a powerful way to protect a user from identity theft and save an organization lots of money. The authenticity of an e-ticket can be verified through properly secured public key infrastructure and by its encryption properties. Many e-tickets are designed to show alert if the barcode has been tampered with.

 “The biggest reason [to purchase an e-ticket] is the cost savings to the vendor on e-tickets,” Galvin said. “Only a few years ago organizations spent millions on printed tickets, now many of those tickets are printed at home or just shown on a mobile device.”

In June 2008, the International Air Transportation Association, composed of 230 airlines, was required to issue e-tickets to travelers. With 100 percent of members issuing e-tickets instead of paper tickets, the industry saves approximately $3 billion per year.

When a customer is convinced they have received an authentic ticket from a refutable brand, they are supplied with the convenience that comes with the implementation of an e-ticket. All the information you need is saved to your mobile device. There isn’t really ever a time where you suddenly exclaim, “Oh! I’ve left my ticket at home!”

Even if you’ve lost your smartphone, you can always find the closest public computer and print your boarding pass or event ticket from the website in which you purchased it. If your phone is dead, you can direct yourself to the numerous charging stations popping up in most populated areas. A true testament to how our society is truly embracing the world of IoT.

Posted by Sydny Shepard on Feb 09, 2016

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