Feeds

Reg exposes Amazon's poor security

Hack pretends he's actually written a book

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Amazon.co.uk carries out no security checks on messages posted on its site by the authors of books it sells. So users are getting upto mischief and posing as writers of books they have nothing to do with.

To test the situation The Reg set up a hotmail address using the name of an established author - we clicked on the link saying 'I am the author and I want to comment on my book' - and up came our message a day later.

However in a fit of pique Amazon pulled the posting once we pointed out to them what we'd done. It wasn't even rude or abusive, we'd just used the words the actual author wanted to see online. Reg friend Matt Thorne let us post a message as the author of his book Dreaming of Strangers.

We just set up a hotmail account Thorne_Matt@hotmail.com and pretended to be Matt. We posted the message on Friday 4 August, and it appeared on Saturday. There was actually no point in setting up the email address because Amazon didn't email back to check it until after The Reg pointed out what it had done. We got a blank email from Adrian Spence, operations manager of Amazon.co.uk's catalogue department.

Last week Amazon's PR manager Lisa Ramshaw said the company had not suffered from any of these author spoofs because it runs security checks. These checks are so effective that Lisa couldn't say what they were because then we'd know how to get round them.

Our author friend Matt Thorne is quite relaxed about the chance of fake authors pretending to be him and writing about his books. "I'm not at all worried about these bogus authors - they're saving me the trouble of doing it." ®

Related Story

Amazon leaves authors open to abuse

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.