Feeds

Man hijacks 90 eBay accounts

Lax security, careless users

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
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.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?