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eBay scrambling to fix a 2nd security flaw that could spread malware

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May 25, 2015

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It's very clear now that eBay is scrambling to repair a second but very critical security vulnerability that could allow cybercriminals to spread malware through files seemingly hosted by the online selling portal.

The security issue is closely related to an earlier and similar one discovered by David Sopas, a researcher at Portuguese security firm WebSegura.

The security flaw uncovered by Sopas, since fixed by eBay (we are told), could have been exploited to fool an eBay member into downloading and opening a file from a trusted eBay website: a file that could be an executable that installs malware.

Users of Internet Explorer 8 and IE 9 are particularly vulnerable, said WebSegura.

"When using eBay and inspecting its various requests, we noticed a call to a JSON file that made us wonder about a security vulnerability dubbed the Reflected Filename Download," he said in a security advisory, which has since been taken offline.

"To the potential victim, the entire process looks like a file was offered for download by eBay's trusted domain and it would not raise any questions (at least for now). A malicious user could then gain total control over a victim's computer and launch multiple attacks," he said.

Sopas added that he'd spotted similar security vulnerabilities in Facebook and also Instagram-- security issues that have since been fixed, he said.

Overall, Reflected Filename Download security holes are fairly common, but fixing them can be tricky, he added.

The potential attack typically involves smuggling a malicious executable batch file in an otherwise pseudo-legit-looking URL which could then be sent in a phishing email spam campaign.

For example, just clicking on the link downloads the data to a disk, which when opened by a naive user would start the installation of bad and compromised software.

Sonas added that he had already informed eBay of the issue with one of its web pages, and he held back from fully disclosing the security vulnerability until the online portal had fixed the flaw and given him the go-ahead.

eBay told him it was okay to publish the bulletin, but then asked him to pull the advisory afterwards because it had found a "major security issue related to the original discovery."

For now, there's no response from eBay as to when the new security vulnerability will be fixed, so for the moment, avoid running any executable file seemingly downloaded from the site. We'll keep you posted on this and other developments.

Source: WebSegura.

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