Silicon Valley techies hacked the Burning Man’s ticketing system to jump ahead of the 80,000 people in the queue
Lets understand a few details about this “Burning Man festival.” It is a week long event held around end of August, in Black Rock city of Nevada. In the recent times this festival has gained a lot of attraction from some of the celebrities and rich techies from Hollywood and start-up’s from Silicon Valley.
Basically this is a week long getaway from the normal schedules to get refreshed and a chance to squander money. People who visit the festival are known as “Burners”. So if you are a “Burner” it adds to your value in the social circle. Some of the biggest names in the technology are regular “Burners” like Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg and other employees from Facebook, Twitter and Uber.
So now its not surprising to know that people are ready to go even to the level of hacking to jump ahead of the ticketing line and it seems around 40,000 tickets were sold out in less than an hour last Wednesday when the Burning Man’s ticket sales was opened for public.
A group of about 200 Silicon Valley Software engineers in and around the Bay Area found a loophole in the Ticketfly webpage which gave them the chance to cut the line of 80,000 others who were all waiting in the queue to book the tickets on “first come first serve” basis. This happened last Wednesday when the officials of Burning Man opened its online ticket sale through Ticketfly website.
This flaw was accidentally leaked on Wednesday when Jonathan Hart, a software engineer in San Francisco tweeted stating he managed to get two tickets by navigating the Ticketfly website. However it was found later that his tweet was just a gag which actually helped in bringing the hackers to the notice of the officials. Its obvious that the hackers would not reveal their act openly on the social media. The news of hacking stirred up lots of frustration in the social media from enthusiastic people who wanted to participate in the event and were waiting for a long time in the internet queue.
Immediately investigation by Burning Man‘s confirmed that a “backdoor” had been created by the hackers to cut the line after 40,000 tickets were already sold out. Megan K. Miller, Burning Man’s director of communications told Wired : “The good news for us, is that we can track them down, and we’re going to cancel their orders. Steps are being taken to prevent this from happening again in future sales.” On Friday it was officially declared that the “hacked tickets” will be cancelled and it will be put back for the last minute sale in August 2015.
This is not the first time that the Silicon Valley techies have created this mess, last year some of the techies who got their tickets in the festival were criticized by the “burners” for presenting themselves at the festival with their air conditioned tents, personal chefs and other VIP perks which are not allowed in the festival. With the growing publicity, the organisers have also raised the costs of the tickets from earlier $35.00 to now $ 390, within a span of 10 years. There are news stating that last year 66,000 ‘burners’ attended the festival.
It’s amazing to see that a mere week long getaway in the midst of the dessert is now gaining so much publicity where professionals are ready to stoop to the level of hacking!!!!