eBay security problem in February – just noticed!

Well, it had to happen. Today eBay announced a serious security compromise. Apparently someone’s got hold of employee login details that allowed access to databases containing customer names and contact details, together with a password hashes.

Should anyone be worried?

Well, a hashed password isn’t a password but it’s possible to crack, especially if it was a weak one (i.e. a word or two words conflated, with a digit on the end and possibly a full stop). eBay says that there’s no evidence of anything fraudulent transactions. Yeah, great. The problem is going to come when people have used the same password elsewhere, like on their PayPal account, bank account or somewhere important – armed with their contact details and a crackable password, those people could be in real trouble.

eBay is due to email everyone very soon to ask them to change their password. It’s called shutting the stable door once the horse has bolted – this data may have been in the hands of the criminals for a couple of months now. You don’t need to change your eBay password; you need to change the password on every system that used it.

The sooner this antiquated means of verifying identity was replaced by secure public certificates, the better – by the punters won’t understand how those work.

So what does this mean? Your password was secure but now it isn’t? No. It was only secure before if you trusted the eBay employees. And a find upstanding bunch they are.

Next, of course, the scammers are going to spam everyone with phishing eBay credential change emails. And when this hits the news, who’s going to disbelieve it. eBay really needed to manage the news dissemination better.



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