Botnet Attack Sinks Its Fangs into eBay Accounts

Popular Web sites are being used in a new attack that's targeting eBay accounts.

A network of infected zombie computers has been roped into acting as vectors in a new distributed attack thats targeting eBay accounts.

The attack, which is trying to wrestle personal financial data out of eBay accounts by brute force, has been going on for at least a week, officials at Aladdin Knowledge Systems told eWEEK. The security firm discovered the new botnet Sept. 3.

The botnet is planting what Aladdin calls a "sophisticated" Trojan on the systems of people who visit hacked Web sites. The security firm said the attack is being launched from up to 300 popular Web sites, snagging vulnerable visitors to those sites.

Because Aladdin is based in Israel, the security firm focused on sites popular in that country, finding that a popular e-commerce site for price comparisons and the main site of the largest Israeli labor union have been infected, among many other sites.

Ofer Elzam, director of product management for the Aladdin eSafe Business Unit, told eWEEK that popular sites in other countries are very likely involved as well.

Elzam said the eBay-focused botnet is unique in its sophistication and complexity.

"It uses so many techniques," he said. It starts by inserting an invisible frame that opens a page thats also obscured from the victim, he said. That page then runs some Ajax and XML script that starts to troll sites, one after another, looking for known vulnerabilities. It downloads some code elements that in turn download other code elements. After four or five stages, it then launches, connects to another server and downloads user name/password name combinations that it uses to attempt to gain access to valid eBay accounts.


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"Its very sophisticated and [ever-changing] and can switch sides and move on and infect other sites again with similar attacks," Elzam said.

One interesting point about the attack, he said, is that organizations could make for better targets than home users, given that they tend not to deploy Microsoft security updates automatically. Internet Explorer vulnerabilities are on the list of weak spots the eBay botnet is sniffing out.

Aladdin discovered the botnet with its eSafe SecureSurfing solution for ISPs—a tool that filters out malware from infected sites rather than blacklisting an entire infected site, as do many so-called clean-pipe technologies.

Aladdin has had no luck contacting eBay about the attack, Elzam said. eBay had not responded to queries by the time this article was posted.

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