There’s an interesting article over at eWeek about a Romanian phisher who may have access to eBay’s internal customer databases.
Updated: The auction behemoth is being skewered by Vladuz, the Romanian impaler, and the e-villagers are whispering that he’s sucking customer and service rep account lifeblood directly from eBay’s internal databases. Is he that spookily talented, or is he just another, albeit talented and lucky, phisher who also stumbled on an e-mail with internal accounts?
Vladuz illustrates the “show me the money” motivation behind high-tech crime.
Phishing has gone from “smash & grab” to a strategic threat. Criminals are leveraging the initial minor breaches into longer term value. By moving slowly the Vladuz hacker now has thousands of compromised accounts to use, and he is inserting his email address and payment details into many legitimate auction listings. That is fooling some users into sending him money out of eBay for goods they’ll never receive.
eWeek has eBay screenshots to support the claims of user id and auction hacking:
The multitalented hacker known as Vladuz is leaving a calling card behind with his or her name, spelled backwards, attached to malicious code injected in live auctions. He or she is taunting eBay by posting to its forums as a customer service rep. The name is associated with a company name that is in turn associated with eBay hacking tools being found for sale online. And whether or not Vladuz is responsible for writing a tool to automatically skim eBay customers accounts and thus cause sharp spikes in bogus listings being taken down and relisted multiple times a day, he or she has the mythic reputation at this point to be credited as the cause.
So far eBay seems to be doing it’s usual back-pedalling on the size and impact of this event.
There are three basic messages here:
- always use eBay’s web-based inbox to communicate with sellers
- if you think you’ve got a bargain that’s too good to be true, you’re probably right.
- beware of sending money transfers by Western Union. eBay’s been warning about that for years.