eBay plugs hole in sign-on page

Persistence pays off


A week or more after it was brought to its attention, eBay has plugged a hole in its sign-on page that was being exploited by phishers.

The vulnerability was noteworthy because it led users to eBay's official login page first, unlike most phishing attacks, which direct victims to a spoofed URL. Once a user entered a valid user name and password on the eBay site, however, the exploit redirected the person to a third-party site of an attacker's choosing.

We brought the vulnerability to the attention of an eBay spokesman eight days ago, and a blogger on jjncj.com said he had alerted eBay of the problem several days before that. What he got in response was a form letter from eBay security. "In the future, be very cautious of any email that asks you to submit information such as your credit card numbers or passwords," it read in part.

It required persistence, but our correspondence was slightly more productive. We contacted eBay PR again late yesterday, and a spokeswoman emailed back to say "early indications have shown this isn't a new vulnerability" and that teams were working to fix it. We asked how long, exactly, security people had known of the hole, but never did get an answer. Nonetheless, the security problem was fixed early Thursday evening.

While critics of eBay security are sure to complain that the response time was inadequate, the vulnerability was considerably more short lived than a similar one we reported in November, which languished for more than 18 months.

Security on eBay has become a hot-button issue for some users of the online auctioneer, who claim eBay servers suffer from a backdoor that allows cyber crooks to penetrate them at will, and for evidence point to at least two breaches by an intruder who calls himself Vladuz and a regular stream of legitimate accounts that have been hijacked. eBay officials steadfastly maintain there is no such backdoor, and that the vast majority of breaches are the result of individual users falling for phishing scams.

We're inclined to agree with eBay that a secret hole is far-fetched. But we'd feel more confident if officials in eBay's Trust and Safety group were more forthcoming about vulnerabilities - and more timely in plugging holes.

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Planning for power cuts? That's strictly for the birds

    Please Mr Hitchcock, no more. The UPS can't take it

    Who, Me? "Expect the unexpected" is a cliché regularly trotted out during disaster planning. But how far should those plans go? Welcome to an episode of Who, Me? where a reader finds an entirely new failure mode.

    Today's tale comes from "Brian" (not his name) and is set during a period when the US state of California was facing rolling blackouts.

    Our reader was working for a struggling hardware vendor in the state, a once mighty power now reduced to a mere 1,400 employees thanks to that old favourite of the HR axe-wielder: "restructuring."

    Continue reading
  • North Korea pulled in $400m in cryptocurrency heists last year – report

    Plus: FIFA 22 players lose their identity and Texas gets phony QR codes

    In brief Thieves operating for the North Korean government made off with almost $400m in digicash last year in a concerted attack to steal and launder as much currency as they could.

    A report from blockchain biz Chainalysis found that attackers were going after investment houses and currency exchanges in a bid to purloin funds and send them back to the Glorious Leader's coffers. They then use mixing software to make masses of micropayments to new wallets, before consolidating them all again into a new account and moving the funds.

    Bitcoin used to be a top target but Ether is now the most stolen currency, say the researchers, accounting for 58 per cent of the funds filched. Bitcoin accounted for just 20 per cent, a fall of more than 50 per cent since 2019 - although part of the reason might be that they are now so valuable people are taking more care with them.

    Continue reading
  • Tesla Full Self-Driving videos prompt California's DMV to rethink policy on accidents

    Plus: AI systems can identify different chess players by their moves and more

    In brief California’s Department of Motor Vehicles said it’s “revisiting” its opinion of whether Tesla’s so-called Full Self-Driving feature needs more oversight after a series of videos demonstrate how the technology can be dangerous.

    “Recent software updates, videos showing dangerous use of that technology, open investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the opinions of other experts in this space,” have made the DMV think twice about Tesla, according to a letter sent to California’s Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), chair of the Senate’s transportation committee, and first reported by the LA Times.

    Tesla isn’t required to report the number of crashes to California’s DMV unlike other self-driving car companies like Waymo or Cruise because it operates at lower levels of autonomy and requires human supervision. But that may change after videos like drivers having to take over to avoid accidentally swerving into pedestrians crossing the road or failing to detect a truck in the middle of the road continue circulating.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022