Working for "Wiseguy Tickets, Inc.," the four were able to hack into Ticketmaster, Telecharge, LiveNation and others to purchase tickets for Bruce Springsteen, New York Yankees games, and Hannah Montana concerts before the general public could buy them.
Online ticket vendors used a CAPTCHA, "completely automated public turing test to tell Computers and humans apart," to prevent automated programs from accessing their websites. CAPTCHAs require answers to questions that only typically humans can answers.
On average it takes 5 to 10 seconds to respond to a CAPTCHA. The Wiseguys were able to do that in "a fraction of a second."
According to an indictment unsealed today in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, Kenneth Lowson, Kristofer Kirsch, Joel Stevenson and Faisal Nahdi used a "nationwide network of computers" to purchase "thousands of tickets per minute" by "opening thousands of connections to online ticket vendors at the instant that tickets" went onsale.