Monaco Pictures’ ‘Star Wars’ ticket glitch leads to hundreds of email addresses being exposed

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A lot of people are scrambling for opening night tickets for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ but that scramble got a little more complicated this week with a hiccup from Monaco Pictures at Bridge Street.

It starts with the ticketing mistake from Cinemark, which owns Monaco Pictures, that sparked the very first email from them.

Their email says in part:

“Due to an error on our website, some of the show times were displayed as general admissions show times instead of Privé 21+ VIP show times. Unfortunately, we cannot have guests under the age of 21 in our Privé lounge or auditoriums. If you have any guests in your party that are under 21 years of age, please visit our guest experience concierge desk to switch your tickets for another show.”

Of course, at this point, it’s just a ticketing error; inconvenient for a film with as much hype as the Star Wars premier, but it’s the email itself that actually caused  hubbub on the web.

The list is hundreds of emails long.

That’s because the email carbon copied everyone, instead of blind carbon copying everyone, which means everyone who got it could see and respond to everyone else.

And that sparked memes. Lots of memes. People tell us they received dozens of messages over the course of the day, and more than one report to us that their Gmail accounts were lumped in as spam accounts, preventing them from sending any email at all.

As for the ticketing for Star Wars, some say they visited the Monaco and had the issues immediately taken care, others say there was uncertainty.

So we called the Monaco to ask what they were doing to make this right. They wouldn’t tell us.

They say they can only talk about it with people directly involved.

As far as the security aspect of all those email being spread, first things first, having your email address out and about on a list like this is not the end of the world. You can’t suddenly have your computer taken over in a Hollywood-style hack because of it.

However, it does expose you to uniquely personal phishing attacks, where scammers try to get you to click a malicious link or give them some info.

F1 Solutions does cyber security work in Huntsville, and one of their senior techs, Troy McCartney, explains, “They can use that information to kind of craft their attack and craft specific messages to send to you to make it more likely for you to click on them.”

They could search your email address to find other social media accounts and tailor an attack to a specific interest.

They’ve already got one pretty good premise.

McCartney elaborates, “We know that they’re going to be at the Monaco on the opening day of ‘Star Wars,’ so you can start to build a message like that. You could even do a copycat message, where you could pretend to be the Monaco and offer a ticket upgrade or offer a dollar off popcorn at the concession stand due to this error. Someone could be likely to fall for that.”

Bottom line, be extra vigilant as you open emails, and especially if you’re going to follow a link or send in information.

McCartney adds, “Check to make sure that the email is valid. Call whoever it is who sent you the email. Hover over links to make sure they’re going to take you places that you expect them to take you to.”

This is not some kind of personal security crisis, but it is a situation where you want to use some extra caution.