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Glitch allows online shoppers to rip-off retailers

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A glitch in many systems for order fulfilment on the Web has been reported which allows the fraudulent to create their own online prices for goods.

The loophole in many ecommerce Web sites was discovered by ebusiness services company Alphakinetic.net during the course of developing ecommerce Web sites for its clients.

Alphakinetic founder Sam Chowdhury estimated that between 10 to 20 per cent of sites were vulnerable to the issue, which involves how payment information is passed between a merchant's site and a secure payment gateway.

The root cause of the problem is that when an Internet shopper passes through a checkout on a merchant's site, a click on the right mouse button might allow a shopper to edit the contents of the page - including the price of goods paid for.

Mark Rowlands, chief technical officer of Alphakinetic, said the problem was not with shopping basket software itself but rather with the lack of checks between a merchant site and a payment site that data had not been altered.

He added that the vulnerability was easy to exploit.

A story in today's Telegraph identifies a number of smaller Web sites that were vulnerable to the breach. These included Aloud.com, CheapNames.co.uk, and Welsh internet shop Wales Direct. ®

External links

Security hole threatens UK etailers
Alphakinetic's take on the problem

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