PayPal Manager bug left web stores open to cyber-burglars

At least payment giant changed the locks within a day


eBay-owned PayPal has plugged a vulnerability that potentially allowed thieves to seize control of merchants' online stores and empty the shelves.

The bug – discovered by security researcher Mark Litchfield of Securatary – affected PayPal Manager, which is used to manage PayFlow accounts by people selling stuff online.

PayPal personal accounts were not affected by the vulnerability, and it's understood to be separate to PayPal parent eBay's customer database compromise.

The complex PayPal flaw, documented in a 16-page advisory [PDF], allows an attacker to change a merchant's password and hijack their account to order stuff for free.

Litchfield said he notified PayPal about the bug on 10 May and it was fixed the day after. He praised the security team's prompt response.

In a brief statement, PayPal confirmed to The Register the security hole had been plugged, and that Litchfield had received an award under its bug bounty programme for his efforts:

We can confirm that this bug has been fixed, and we appreciate the contributions that security researchers like Mark Litchfield make to PayPal’s Bug Bounty Program in helping keep PayPal a safer place for our customers. As a reminder, never provide sensitive information, click on suspicious links, or open unknown attachments in email, and ensure you are on a legitimate PayPal site before providing your PayPal credentials. If you suspect questionable activity please report it to spoof@paypal.com

Litchfield is building up a track record of uncovering holes in eBay's web infrastructure after previously discovering a separate account hijack flaw in eBay ProStores. ®

Updated to add

A PayPal spokesperson has been in touch to "confirm that there is no evidence that PayPal customer information was compromised".


Other stories you might like

  • It's one thing to have the world in your hands – what are you going to do with it?

    Google won the patent battle against ART+COM, but we were left with little more than a toy

    Column I used to think technology could change the world. Google's vision is different: it just wants you to sort of play with the world. That's fun, but it's not as powerful as it could be.

    Despite the fact that it often gives me a stomach-churning sense of motion sickness, I've been spending quite a bit of time lately fully immersed in Google Earth VR. Pop down inside a major city centre – Sydney, San Francisco or London – and the intense data-gathering work performed by Google's global fleet of scanning vehicles shows up in eye-popping detail.

    Buildings are rendered photorealistically, using the mathematics of photogrammetry to extrude three-dimensional solids from multiple two-dimensional images. Trees resolve across successive passes from childlike lollipops into complex textured forms. Yet what should feel absolutely real seems exactly the opposite – leaving me cold, as though I've stumbled onto a global-scale miniature train set, built by someone with too much time on their hands. What good is it, really?

    Continue reading
  • Why Cloud First should not have to mean Cloud Everywhere

    HPE urges 'consciously hybrid' strategy for UK public sector

    Sponsored In 2013, the UK government heralded Cloud First, a ground-breaking strategy to drive cloud adoption across the public sector. Eight years on, and much of UK public sector IT still runs on-premises - and all too often - on obsolete technologies.

    Today the government‘s message boils down to “cloud first, if you can” - perhaps in recognition that modernising complex legacy systems is hard. But in the private sector today, enterprises are typically mixing and matching cloud and on-premises infrastructure, according to the best business fit for their needs.

    The UK government should also adopt a “consciously hybrid” approach, according to HPE, The global technology company is calling for the entire IT industry to step up so that the public sector can modernise where needed and keep up with innovation: “We’re calling for a collective IT industry response to the problem,” says Russell MacDonald, HPE strategic advisor to the public sector.

    Continue reading
  • A Raspberry Pi HAT for the Lego Technic fan

    Sneaking in programming under the guise of plastic bricks

    There is good news for the intersection of Lego and Raspberry Pi fans today, as a new HAT (the delightfully named Hardware Attached on Top) will be unveiled for the diminutive computer to control Technic motors and sensors.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021