Security & Fraud

StubHub Cybertheft Case Sees Guilty Plea

The Russian national in charge of a criminal hacking enterprise that stole nearly $1 million in tickets via online vendor StubHub has pleaded guilty. Vadim Polyakov is facing four to 12 years in prison after copping to a scheme that coordinated players from around the world to take over StubHub accounts, use accountholders’ credit cards to purchase high-value tickets and then sell said tickets to pocket the funds.

The most popular items on the block were Broadway tickets, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z and Yankees games (behind the dugout). All in, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.’s office reports more than 1,000 StubHub accounts and 3,500 tickets worth at least $1.6 million were involved, including some tickets that went for nearly $1,000 apiece.

So far, neither Polyakov’s attorneys or StubHub have any official comments. StubHub first learned of the issue when a wave of customer complaints rolled in. Polyakov was arrested while on vacation in Spain in 2014 and extradited to the U.S. over Russian objections. He is not the only party charged in the case. Nine other people around the world also were indicted in the case, though some have yet to be arrested. Others have pleaded not guilty.

“Many foreign cybercriminals believe they can operate overseas with total impunity, but this case proves they can be held criminally responsible for their actions, which can have devastating consequences on thousands of victims at a time,” Vance said in a statement on Monday (June 20).

The DA’s office further noted that account information that made the fraudulent infiltration of StubHub users’ computers possible was either gained from previous data breaches or through malware or keylogging software stored illicitly on a victim’s computer.

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