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MoviePass Confirms Security Lapse May Have Exposed Customer Credit Card Data

Dave McNary

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MoviePass, the struggling movie ticket subscription service, confirmed that a security issue may have exposed customers’ records online, including credit card info.

In a statement, MoviePass said Wednesday that the security lapse was recently discovered and its system was immediately secured. News of the data breach was first reported Tuesday by TechCrunch, which alleged that tens of thousands customer records were left exposed on the internet, including MoviePass card numbers and personal credit card data, because a critical server was not protected with a password.

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“MoviePass takes this incident seriously and is dedicated to protecting our subscribers’ information,” a spokesperson said. “We are working diligently to investigate the scope of this incident and its potential impact on our subscribers. Once we gain a full understanding of the incident, we will promptly notify any affected subscribers and the appropriate regulators or law enforcement.”

The announcement came two weeks after a report that MoviePass was accused of changing user passwords in the summer of 2018 to prevent heavy users from logging in. A Business Insider report, citing former employees, said the lack of funds led to CEO Mitch Lowe making “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” unavailable on MoviePass and ordering that half of subscribers be frozen out during the July 27-29, 2018, opening weekend.

On July 3, MoviePass announced that it would be out of commission for several weeks at least in order fix technical issues and finish work on a new version of its app. At the time, it said it “plans to use this time to recapitalize in order to facilitate a seamless transition and improved subscriber experience once the service continues.”

In a notice currently posted on the MoviePass site, the company claims that “service has been restored to a substantial number of our current subscribers and we are hoping to take steps to restore service to all our current subscribers.” It’s not currently letting new customers sign up.

The number of MoviePass subscribers plummeted from more than 3 million last year to just 225,000 in under a year, according to a Business Insider report in April. The subscriber plunge stemmed from MoviePass’ change in August 2018 to eliminate the one-movie-per-day plan, priced at $9.95 per month, with a $9.95 plan allowing subscribers to see just three movies each month.

Earlier this year, it rolled out a refashioned “unlimited” option, for $14.95 per month, to again allow customers to see one movie daily but warning that movie choices will be restricted based on “system-wide capacity.”

MoviePass parent Helios and Matheson Analytics is the target of a securities-fraud probe by the New York Attorney General, which is looking into whether the company misled investors. MoviePass also is the target of a class-action lawsuit by subscribers claiming the change in the “unlimited” plan was a deceptive “bait-and-switch” tactic.

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