Feeds

Dead authors write to Amazon

It's a grave situation

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The fact that anyone can post bogus author comments on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk doesn't seem to come as much of a surprise to Reg readers - a lot of you seem to have enjoyed the feature for quite some time.

And 2600: The Hacker Quarterly apparently revealed the hole more than six months ago.

But Steve Frazier, MD of Amazon.co.uk, reckons the only occurrence he is aware of is when the Reg proved how easy it was, a couple of weeks ago. This is in spite of Ted Dewan, chair of the Children's Writers and Illustrators Group at the Society of Authors, writing to Amazon.co.uk expressing his concern about the problem on 27 July. Ted's concerns were based on postings to Amazon.com.

If anyone has seen an amusing fake author posting on Amazon.co.uk get a screen grab and email me here. The UK site, though a subsidiary of Amazon.com, reckons it runs better security procedures (which it won't elaborate on, but is probably someone just reading emails) which guard against joke posting. The Reg's test got through, apparently, because we used a message the author was happy to appear next to his books.

For your amusement here's some more bogus author postings from Amazon.com, courtesy of Need to Know.

Einstein has revealed that he got it wrong about quantum mechanics and God does play with dice. And Fyodor Dostoyevskywrites that he still likes his work even though he's dead.

And here's one we've discovered ourselves. Political writer Hugo Young wrote the book One of Us, a highly rated biography of Margaret Thatcher. In the US this is called The Iron Lady. One of its fans posted a five star review to Amazon.com in 1997 but also mentioned that Young was dead. So six months later, Young's son Dominic posted a message pointing out his dad is alive and well. He entered this in the author's comment slot. Both messages are still there.

If Amazon.co.uk discovered anything like this on its site it would take swift and draconian action. Following the Reg's test of Amazon's security the author Matt Thorne, (under whose name we posted our bogus message), had images of his book covers, reviews from national newspapers, synopses of his books, and reader comments removed from his bit of the site. Amazon.co.uk also removed the ability to post any further comments on his books. Everything was replaced five days later.

Amazon's explanation was they wanted to make sure Matt was totally happy with everything that appeared on Amazon.co.uk in relation to his books. ®

Related Stories

Reg exposes Amazon's poor security
Amazon leaves authors open to abuse

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.