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"Bots" could be to blame for sold out Bruno Mars standard ticket - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

"Bots" could be to blame for sold out Bruno Mars standard tickets

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Hundreds of Bruno Mars fans were left frustrated over the weekend after standard priced concert tickets sold out within minutes.

The tickets were only available for Hawaii residents to buy at the time. Yet some blamed bots for scooping them first.

A computer expert says computer software could be to blame.

"You don't need ginormous internet pipes, all you need is a cable modem and the bot herder just goes and says we are going to attack Ticketmaster and we want to buy the front row on this date and they go and ka-ching, now we have plenty of money," Brian Chee, Advanced Network Computing Laboratory at UH Manoa said. 

Chee says hackers could've gamed Ticketmaster's system even with the restrictions limiting tickets for residents only at four per person.

He explained a person would typically use bots that would allow up to 1,000 virtual users to work for them tying up Ticketmaster's website. Pair that with Artificial Intelligence and a user could get around the required captcha.

Chee says Both software can be rented to get around the residents only requirement. Hackers could buy numerous virtual credit cards online similar to pre-paid credit cards in grocery stores and program them with Hawaii zip codes even if they're not from Hawaii.

"The bottom line is it can be run from anywhere in the world, especially from places out of reach of our law enforcement," Chee said. 

Ticketmaster has been at the forefront of combating bots.The company says it has blocked more than five billion of them per year and continues to invest millions of dollars in technology and staff members to get tickets directly to fans.

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