Feeds

Man hijacks 90 eBay accounts

Lax security, careless users

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.