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Tamebay comment: Hacks happen but eBay is losing the “confidence” war

By Dan Wilson May 22, 2014 - 2:30 am

Yesterday Tamebay reported that eBay had been the victim of a security attack.

Later in the day we relayed some of the additional info eBay had published regarding the so called “cyberattack”.

And at around about midnight, I was pleased to discuss the issue frankly with eBay Marketplaces CEO Devin Wenig on the blower. I was encouraged to hear his determination to resolve the issue swiftly and get “back to business” as soon as possible.

Any grown up who uses the internet must know this: no network is secure, no information held online is private.

And for the most part that isn’t a massive problem. Google ensures that most of our public information can be found by prying eyes anyway. Plenty of people give it away freely on social sites like Facebook and Twitter.

And sometimes such networks are hacked by bad people. We know that too. That eBay was pillaged of data in February or March isn’t really a surprise. It happens a lot. Few organisations have an impervious network.

But now it is public that eBay has been the victim of a cyberattack, what does surprise me is that eBay Inc., thus far, does seem to be fluffing the communications war.

eBay has released details and briefings to the media, but at time of writing (03:00am Thursday), the information being given to users is scant. It’s not good enough.

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It is more than 12 hours since we first learnt of the problem and yet, as I write, I haven’t received an email from eBay regarding the issue as a user. And eBay’s homepage appears to be in shutdown mode (See above, my view from the iPad). Wenig says that such comms will be despatched “as quickly as we can.”

None of this bodes well because as long as the media rumbles, only one thing matters: buyer confidence. Wenig declined to confirm that sales had been dented by the news during our conversation. And that is fair enough.

But we have a problem. The eBay homepage currently doesn’t seem totally open for business and hasn’t been since at least 5pm BST on Wednesday.

People are wondering (not least down my local boozer tonight) whether eBay is safe to buy from and the bulk of information available is through the media.

eBay needs to get the message out directly to users ASAP that eBay is safe, open for business and a great place for buyers. That means emails and onsite messaging for starters. None has yet to materialise.

A slow start is one thing but this will prove to be a confidence campaign that will take weeks and months to win now.

I look forward to eBay batting this hacking problem past the pavilion and reaching out to buyers soonest to rebuild confidence in the eBay marketplace. It is the least they owe to sellers.

But in the meantime a homepage placement and reassuring emails would suffice. Where are they eBay? Why has it taken so long? Twelve hours and counting.

  • Rob
    3 years ago

    What is also annoying sellers greatly, and probably putting buyers off even more, is that eBay was hacked in Feb/March, they “found out” two weeks ago, and have stayed silent until the media story broke. We have selling IDs and buying IDs and none of them have received any form of contact from eBay. Very poor

  • Alex
    3 years ago

    Well IMO its not surprising that eBay are not being very public about all this, and its not the first time. Its also disgraceful that all this happened 10 – 12 weeks ago (note there is no specific date either!!) and only now are we being told.

    About 2 years ago I discovered someone had posted a £22,000 motor-home listing on my account. Now the really odd thing was that everything was correct and normal and every link worked as normal except my Feedback score which remained static (no new feedbacks got added during this period). I was made aware of this ”motor-home” listing by two people. One was a frequent customer and he saw it as being odd (we had had many previous phone calls) but the other was random and I suspect (in hindsight) he may have been involved in this in some way.

    Upon realising what was happening I immediately reported it to eBay and despite my asking many questions they would not explain at all how someone had used their server to post a false listing in my name.

    Now, the point of this is that someone was able to post a fake ”motor-home” listing using my eBay account yet all my other real listings remained, my real items still sold, messages came in, etc, yet despite trying I WAS NOT ABLE TO END THE FALSE LISTING MYSELF. I had to call CS and report it and they then removed it. This clearly shows that someone had control over my account and it can only be internal. I have worked in IT so it is obvious that they had control over the eBay server and I can only conclude that it was done by someone inside eBay (note BBC news last night!!). When I contacted eBay they immediately removed the “motor home” listing but were very evasive about how this could happen.

    After watching BBC news last night, which stated that there are eBay employees acting badly I can only assume that I was an early trial of whatever they are now doing.

    Fortunately it did not affect me in any way.

    Everyone should immediately change their password.

    • Jane
      3 years ago

      Alex:

      This happened to me a couple of years ago too and it was not an inside job!

      It was the time Yahoo admitted to a similar hack. So although my email account was compromised, I didn’t know, until someone from China listed 150 mobile phones on my eBay account. How? Simple: they just clicked on the ‘forgotten password’ link on eBay, who happily emailed them my password. They just waited for the email then Bingo!

      Ebay systems flagged it fortunately and CS helped me change password. But the exact same thing happened again an hour later – the hacker had just clicked the forgotten pw link again and of course, they sent the hacker my new PW!

      So you might want to consider changing the email you use with eBay.

    • Alex
      3 years ago

      Appreciate the reply and info but you missed something in my OP.

      I could not end the listing. I could end any other of my listings but not the motor-home. Also my feedback score remained static but increased on all my other listings and also on all other my eBay pages, but not on the motor-home listing.

      It was like the page was a “screen shot” of a listing that had been implanted on the eBay server but done in my name.

      To be specific, I could not, and had no, control over that listing but could still do as normal with all my other listings.

    • Jo
      3 years ago
    • 3 years ago

      A few months ago I had gone out and came back to a barrage of emails and messages from ebay about Tractors having appeared on my listings. I have had a Tractor(a Nuffield Universal 4) many years ago but I sold it to a friend years ago. But by the time I got home the Tractors had disappeared from my listings and it appeared that everything had been sorted.

      Could I raise a nuisance that I have. I am often looking for items. I note Nearest First. Something appears as 100 miles away but when I check its in Swansea. Doesn’t ebays system notice that there is a very large lump of deep and wet and salty between Cornwall and Swansea? It might be only 100 miles as the seagull flies but by land it is a lot further. As an example Bristol is about 100 miles and I have to go round via Bristol from Cornwall to then drive along the M4 towards Swansea many miles away.

  • Rich
    3 years ago

    Yes I agree with the writer in the main. It is but one in a long series of gaffes that has certainly undermined my confidence in Ebay. I fear it is on a long slippery slope and in a few years will be just one of a number of sites we use. Maybe it is best that way.

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