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My EBay Philippines Account Was Hacked!

"We're writing to notify you that the password for your eBay account has been compromised. As a result, we have scrambled your password to prevent unauthorized activity."

Shown above is the introduction of an email I received from Ebay Philippines (ebay.ph) the other day. And after a bit of research, I verified that this is a genuine email from Ebay. And not only that, it appears that I'm not the only one.

Password Compromised?

What it meant is that someone got to know my password. By having my username and password, the intruder can easily access my account and do such things as:
- steal my personal information, including your address
- steal my credit card or PayPal information
- make transactions in my behalf (and from your money also)
- compromise my other accounts if I use the same set of username and password

How Much Damage?

Ebay Philippines didn't elaborate what or how much information was stolen. They also didn't mentioned how my account was compromised. But the email sounds serious enough prompting me to check my other online accounts. I particularly checked my PayPal account since Ebay and PayPal were related companies.

In addition to changing my password and adding new security features, Ebay also gave some tips to prevent this from happening again. Here are some of them:


1. Avoid spoofs
To help keep your account secure in the future, you may want to learn how to recognize and report fake ("spoof") emails and Web sites. For more information about spoof eBay Web sites and emails, please go to:

http://pages.ebay.ph/help/confidence/isgw-account-theft-spoof.html

2. Don't disclose your eBay password to any site other than eBay
We don't recommend using 3rd party tools that ask for your eBay credentials. These tools are not authorized by eBay, and providing your eBay User ID and password to a 3rd party increases your risk of unauthorized account access.

3. Use a unique, secure password.
Never use the same password for your eBay account and your email account, or the same password that you use on other websites. For tips on how to create a secure password, please visit:

http://pages.ebay.ph/help/confidence/password-secure.html

4. Antivirus protection
There are a number of computer viruses that can record keystrokes. We recommend that you keep your antivirus software up to date and use a firewall.

Image representing eBay as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Series of Hacking Allegedly from China

Some of the biggest companies in the United States such as the New York Times, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter have reported hacking attacks in the recent weeks. The reports said that the attacks were sophisticated and cannot be a work of an amateur. 

The recent reports from a US-based security firm Mandiant claimed a Chinese military division based in Shanghai was responsible for a wide-scale cyber espionage. The allegation was denied and criticized by the Chinese government. 

Whether the breach in Ebay accounts is part of this seemingly connected hacking attempts was not publicly disclosed or known. Needless to say though, the need to practice safety measures when using the internet is a must now more than ever.

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