100 fake eBay listings put users' privacy at risk

Ebay Logo

More than 100 eBay listings have been identified as malicious by the online auction site, leading customers to reveal their personal details including payment information.

A number of customers contacted the BBC to tell them they had tried to warn eBay about the issues reported last week, but eBay had not addressed them as quickly as they should have.

The listings in questions appeared normal, but custom Javascript and Flash content contained in them allowed hackers to redirect users to a fake website that looked legitimate but actually allowed them to siphon off user details including credit card details.

The listings were posted by many innocent eBay users whose accounts had been hijacked by the hackers and forwarded the bidders to a page that said eBay was trying to update the innocent user's details, asking for payment information including card details and in some cases, account numbers and sort codes.

Those whose accounts were being used to perform the attacks were receiving emails congratulating them on the sale of their items, which they had not even put up for sale in the first place.

eBay said: "Account takeovers generally occur as a result of a user disclosing their IDs or password. Unfortunately, it is a common practice of criminals to exploit well-known, trusted brand names like eBay to attract consumers and then lure them to a fake website or into other fraudulent situations."

The company continued: "Many of our sellers use active content like Javascript and Flash to make their eBay listings perform better.

"We have no current plans to remove active content from eBay. However, we will continue to review all site features and content in the context of the benefit they bring our customers as well as overall site security."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.