Entries Tagged "eBay"

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Buying Used Voting Machines on eBay

This is not surprising:

This year, I bought two more machines to see if security had improved. To my dismay, I discovered that the newer model machines — those that were used in the 2016 election — are running Windows CE and have USB ports, along with other components, that make them even easier to exploit than the older ones. Our voting machines, billed as “next generation,” and still in use today, are worse than they were before­ — dispersed, disorganized, and susceptible to manipulation.

Cory Doctorow’s comment is correct:

Voting machines are terrible in every way: the companies that make them lie like crazy about their security, insist on insecure designs, and produce machines that are so insecure that it’s easier to hack a voting machine than it is to use it to vote.

I blame both the secrecy of the industry and the ignorance of most voting officials. And it’s not getting better.

Posted on November 1, 2018 at 6:18 AMView Comments

Defending Against Liar Buyer Fraud

It’s a common fraud on sites like eBay: buyers falsely claim that they never received a purchased item in the mail. Here’s a paper on defending against this fraud through basic psychological security measures. It’s preliminary research, but probably worth experimental research.

We have tested a collection of possible user-interface enhancements aimed at reducing liar buyer fraud. We have found that showing users in the process of filing a dispute that (1) their computer is recognized, and (2) that their location is known dramatically reduces the willingness to file false claims. We believe the reason for the reduction is that the would-be liars can visualize their lack of anonymity at a time when they are deciding whether to perform a fraudulent action. Interestingly, we also showed that users were not affected by knowing that their computer was recognized, but without their location being pin-pointed, or the other way around. We also determined that a reasonably accurate map was necessary — but that an inaccurate map does not seem to increase the willingness to lie.

Posted on January 21, 2015 at 6:31 AMView Comments

Selling a Good Reputation on eBay

Here’s someone who is selling positive feedback on eBay:

Hello, for sale is a picture of a tree. This tree is an original and was taken by me. I have gotten nothing but 100% feedback from people from this picture. Great Picture! Once payment is made I will send you picture via email. Once payment is made and I send picture through email 100% feedback will be given to the buyer!!!! Once you pay for the item send me a ebay message with your email and I will email you the picture!

Posted on June 24, 2011 at 1:59 PMView Comments

Fraud on eBay

I expected selling my computer on eBay to be easy.

Attempt 1: I listed it. Within hours, someone bought it — from a hacked account, as eBay notified me, cancelling the sale.

Attempt 2: I listed it again. Within hours, someone bought it, and asked me to send it to her via FedEx overnight. The buyer sent payment via PayPal immediately, and then — near as I could tell — immediately opened a dispute with PayPal so that the funds were put on hold. And then she sent me an e-mail saying “I paid you, now send me the computer.” But PayPal was faster than she expected, I think. At the same time, I received an e-mail from PayPal saying that I might have received a payment that the account holder did not authorize, and that I shouldn’t ship the item until the investigation is complete.

I’m willing to make Attempt 3, if just to see what kind of scam happens this time. But I still want to sell the computer, and I am pissed off at what is essentially a denial-of-service attack. The facts from this listing are accurate; does anyone want it? List price is over $3K. Send me e-mail.

EDITED TO ADD (6/19): It’s not just me.

EDITED TO ADD (6/24): The computer is sold, to someone who reads my blog.

EDITED TO ADD (6/25): I’m not entirely sure, but it looks like the payment from the second eBay buyer has gone through PayPal. I don’t trust it — just because I can’t figure out the scam doesn’t mean there isn’t one. And, anyway, the computer is sold.

EDITED TO ADD (7/3): For the record: despite articles to the contrary, I was not scammed on eBay. I was the victim of two scam attempts, both of which I detected and did not fall for.

Posted on June 19, 2009 at 11:55 AMView Comments

The Zone of Essential Risk

Bob Blakley makes an interesting point. It’s in the context of eBay fraud, but it’s more general than that.

If you conduct infrequent transactions which are also small, you’ll never lose much money and it’s not worth it to try to protect yourself – you’ll sometimes get scammed, but you’ll have no trouble affording the losses.

If you conduct large transactions, regardless of frequency, each transaction is big enough that it makes sense to insure the transactions or pay an escrow agent. You’ll have occasional experiences of fraud, but you’ll be reimbursed by the insurer or the transactions will be reversed by the escrow agent and you don’t lose anything.

If you conduct small or medium-sized transactions frequently, you can amortize fraud losses using the gains from your other transactions. This is how casinos work; they sometimes lose a hand, but they make it up in the volume.

But if you conduct medium-sized transactions rarely, you’re in trouble. The transactions are big enough so that you care about losses, you don’t have enough transaction volume to amortize those losses, and the cost of insurance or escrow is high enough compared to the value of your transactions that it doesn’t make economic sense to protect yourself.

Posted on March 30, 2009 at 6:50 AMView Comments

New eBay Fraud

Here’s a clever attack, exploiting relative delays in eBay, PayPal, and UPS shipping:

The buyer reported the item as “destroyed” and demanded and got a refund from Paypal. When the buyer shipped it back to Chad and he opened it, he found there was nothing wrong with it — except that the scammer had removed the memory, processor and hard drive. Now Chad is out $500 and left with a shell of a computer, and since the item was “received” Paypal won’t do anything.

Very clever. The seller accepted the return from UPS after a visual inspection, so UPS considered the matter closed. PayPal and eBay both considered the matter closed. if the amount was large enough, the seller could sue, but how could he prove that the computer was functional when he sold it?

It seems to me that the only way to solve this is for PayPal to not process refunds until the seller confirms what he received back is the same as what he shipped. Yes, then the seller could commit similar fraud, but sellers (certainly professional ones) have a greater reputational risk.

Posted on March 6, 2009 at 1:30 PM

MI6 Camera — Including Secrets — Sold on eBay

I wish I’d known:

A 28-year-old delivery man from the UK who bought a Nikon Coolpix camera for about $31 on eBay got more than he bargained for when the camera arrived with top secret information from the UK’s MI6 organization.

Allegedly sold by one of the clandestine organization’s agents, the camera contained named al-Qaeda cells, names, images of suspected terrorists and weapons, fingerprint information, and log-in details for the Secret Service’s computer network, containing a “Top Secret” marking.

He turned the camera in to the police.

Posted on October 1, 2008 at 1:59 PMView Comments

DefCon Badge Auction

I am auctioning my DefCon speaker badge on eBay.

The curious phrasing — “upon completion of this auction, Schneier will donate an amount equal to the purchase price to the Electronic Privacy Information Center” — is because eBay has complex rules for charity auctions. So, technically, I am not donating the proceeds of the auction; I am donating a completely different pile of money equal to the proceeds of the auction.

EDITED TO ADD (8/22): Sold for $335. Thank you all.

Posted on August 18, 2007 at 10:57 AMView Comments

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.