Feeds

Man hijacks 90 eBay accounts

Lax security, careless users

Build a business case: developing custom apps

An Australian man pleaded guilty to breaking into eBay and a local bank to steal AU$42,000 (about $34,000), in a case that demonstrates the problem of account takeovers on the auction site.

Dov Tenenboim, 21, of the Sydney suburb of North Bondi, stood accused of breaking into at least 90 different eBay seller accounts last year, mostly by guessing passwords. Tenenboim frequently figured out the credentials by matching usernames to passwords, prosecutors said. Other times he hacked into email accounts.

Following a familiar route, Tenenboim targeted users with highly favorable feedback ratings from their eBay peers. Posting under the guise of a trusted user with an established account makes it easier to dupe buyers.

After hacking the accounts, Tenenboim used them to advertise non-existent iPods, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. He also hacked into the Commonwealth Bank. He pleaded guilty to two counts of making a false statement to obtain money, two counts of obtaining money by deception and four counts of committing an unauthorized computer function. Tenenboim faces a maximum of 11 years in jail and fines of $9,900.

Account takeovers have been a persistent problem on eBay. Over the past several weeks, we've observed hundreds of fraudulent auctions being offered by users with unblemished records. Such hijackings are on the rise, according to a small but vocal group of eBay users, who also claim the breaches are the result of an unpatched security hole in the company's defenses.

eBay strongly denies such a hole and says the takeovers are the result of users having their log-in credentials snatched through lax passwords and phishing attacks. Tenenboim's methods appear consistent with such statements.

But eBay can't be let off the hook completely. The company employs lax password requirements that, for instance, allow a user ID of james34231 and a password of james34. (To be fair, Google Mail allowed the same combination, though the site warned it was only "fair.")

What's more, eBay, like the vast majority of online services, has no mechanism in place to allow account holders to log in using security keys that generate random numbers every minute or so. Such devices would render most current password attack methods ineffective.

eBay has said it is in the early stages of testing such a system for its PayPal users, and a spokeswoman says the key will also work on eBay. ®

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Plug and PREY: Hackers reprogram USB drives to silently infect PCs
BadUSB instructs gadget chips to inject key-presses, redirect net traffic and more
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?