PayPal Fills Phishing Hole

By Matt Hines  |  Posted 06-19-2006

Online payment company PayPal reported that it has fixed a Web site glitch through which the operators of a phishing scheme had been attempting to steal personal data of the company's customers.

According to officials for the eBay subsidiary, PayPal updated coding on its Web site to block a vulnerability that phishers based in South Korea had been exploiting in an effort to rip off its members.

The sophisticated threat attempted to lure unsuspecting users to a URL hosted on PayPal's legitimate Web site that had been altered by cyber-criminals using a so-called cross-site scripting attack.

Using such attacks, criminals seek out vulnerabilities in legitimate Web pages and add their own code in order to append their own content to the sites or redirect users to other fraudulent sites.

The schemes can also steal information stored as so-called Web browser cookies, which often contain user names, passwords and other sensitive data.

Upon visiting the PayPal page in question, users were presented with a message secretly injected onto the site telling them that their accounts had been locked due to unauthorized access and asking them to wait while they were redirected to an account "resolution center."

After a short delay, users were redirected to an external server that presented them with an entirely fake PayPal URL and member log-in interface.

Those who logged into the fake site effectively passed their account information onto the fraudsters, who also presented any visitors with a second totally illegitimate page asking individuals to relax the user control settings of their PayPal accounts and share even more personal information, including their social security numbers, credit card numbers and ATM pin numbers.

PayPal representatives said that in addition to blocking the vulnerability, the company is working with the Korean Internet service provider hosting the criminal site, and reported that the firm is cooperating with its investigation.

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