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Now Appearing: Year-Long Hack at Madison Square Garden

As NYC readies for the big Thanksgiving Day parade, a breach affecting some of the city’s most famous venues, including Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall, has been disclosed.

Madison Square Garden Co. said that a hack of the payment processing system, which also affects the Beacon Theater, Chicago Theater and the Theatre at Madison Square Garden, lasted approximately a year, from November 9, 2015 and October 24, 2016. Hackers gained access to data contained in the magnetic stripe on the back of payment cards swiped in person to purchase merchandise and food and beverage items at Madison Square Garden, the Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Beacon Theater, and Chicago Theater, including credit card numbers, cardholder names, expiration dates and internal verification codes.

The company hasn’t disclosed how many are affected, but it did say that not all cards used during this time frame were affected. This incident also did not involve cards used on MSG websites, at the venues’ box offices, or on Ticketmaster.

"Venues like Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall that have multiple food, beverage and retail locations within them must be armed with better tools and increased cyber-intelligence to ward off and alert to these kind of attacks,” said John Christly, CISO at Netsurion, via email. “And for those that may have some of these tools on their 'toolbelt' already, they should consider finding companies to work with to enhance their monitoring of these tools. It is vitally important to have the ability to more closely watch the data that passes through a corporate network in order to have a better chance of preventing breaches from occurring in the first place, or at least minimizing the damage by stopping them sooner than later.”

Gone are the days when a typical firewall could be set up once and run without constant monitoring, tweaking and ensuring the data coming from it was correlated with other systems, he added.

“Some of these breaches may look like normal web traffic coming out of the firewall, and other attacks can even seem like legitimate DNS traffic, which may pass right by the typical un-managed firewall. It takes a different approach to stop some of these advanced attacks, and many products and service providers simply do not have the ability to stop them before they do real damage.

The types of tools that are needed in today's growing IT ecosystem include things like file integrity monitoring (to tell you when files have changed that weren’t supposed to change), unified threat management appliances (used to integrate security features such as firewall, gateway antivirus and intrusion detection), security information and event management (used to centrally collect, store and analyze log data and other data from various systems in order to provide a single point of view from which to be alerted to potential issues), and next-generation endpoint security solutions (used to stop attacks on the endpoint computers and servers before they can wreak havoc on other systems).

Photo © Glynnis Jones/Shutterstock.com

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