eBay hack could result in social engineering schemes

eBay is directing users to reset passwords, but the larger risk is from the theft of data that could be used to compromise other accounts.

You've probably heard by now that eBay is the latest victim of a massive data breach. The popular online auction site has asked users to reset their passwords as a precautionary measure, but the data that matters most is already compromised, and there is nothing you can do to "reset" it.

Details are still sketchy--sort of standard operating procedure for data breach incidents. What we know is that the breach occurred between February and early March, but was just recently discovered. eBay claims that email addresses, encrypted passwords, names, addresses, telephone numbers, and user's birth dates were compromised.

Because the passwords were encrypted, there is no immediate risk, but it's only a matter of time before attackers are able to decrypt them. It definitely makes sense for eBay users to change their passwords. It's also worth reiterating standard password security practices like making sure you use a strong password, don't use the same one for multiple sites or services, and change them periodically.

But your eBay password may be the least valuable piece of information from the data that was compromised.

"The fact that user email addresses and physical addresses were taken in the breach is more concerning," says Dwayne Melancon, CTO of Tripwire. "Criminals could use that information to masquerade as eBay customers on other sites, or perhaps 'social engineer' their way to users' other accounts. Unlike the passwords, the other user-specific information was not encrypted and therefore it can be easily reused by attackers."

"Many sites can be easily tricked into resetting passwords--requiring a minimum of personal information to do so," says Paul Lipman, CEO of iSheriff. "The non-encrypted personal data that was stolen from eBay could potentially enable users' credentials to become compromised on a wide array of other sites through this kind of social engineering technique."

The attackers can also use information like your phone number, email address, and mailing address for targeted phishing campaigns.

You can't trust any emails or phone calls you receive. You can't even trust snail mail. Any communication you receive should be treated with skepticism, and you should contact the company in question yourself to make sure it's legitimate.

Lipman summed up on a somber note: "Unfortunately, we likely haven't yet heard the end of this story."

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags personal informationInternet-based applications and servicese-commercesecurityTripwireebay compromiseddata breachbecaebayinternet

More about eBayTripwire

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Tony Bradley

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts