Phishers are exploiting a redirection script on eBay's site to make fraudulent emails look more convincing. Three Register readers noticed the trick in scam emails they received. Alerted by The Register, email security firm MessageLabs confirmed that it has detected and blocked the same trick a number of times in the last two weeks.
We have yet to hear back from the online auction house, despite notifying eBay of a potential problem on Wednesday (23 February) and making several calls since then.
Meanwhile, the exploit (details of which we are withholding) remains open to abuse.
Register readers described how the "neat" trick could trap the unwary. "I can host my eBay-alike phishing page anywhere I like, and use the above script to get users to click on it. The link is very definitely pointing to eBay, it's just that eBay will redirect to my phishing net. Very slick," writes one reader.
Reports of new, unique phishing email messages to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) reached 12,845 last month (PDF), 42 per cent up on December 2004. Fraudsters are widening their scope beyond perennial favourites such as Citibank and eBay, and are looking to hook customers of smaller financial institutions too, APWG reports. ®