Paypal users beware

Users of PayPal should be aware that their information on the internet is not as safe as they think it is. This point was highlighted by a recent fraud of more that £180,000 from eBay.

Richard Kirk, 22, a computer hacker from Sherwood, Nottingham, was recently jailed for three and a half years after having been found guilty of this crime. Incredibly, this crime was committed over two years (between 2008 and 2010) without the hacked websites realising what was going on.

The crime was perpetrated by Kirk as he was able to guess the answers to users’ personal security questions. Simple questions such as year of birth, month of birth, favourite colour and so forth are easily guessed and a determined hacker, such as Kirk, can guess the answers and reset the password so that he can use the user logon information for his own malicious intentions.

A common mistake that people make is that they use the same password for multiple sites. In this way, Kirk was able to access a person’s PayPal account using the logon information for that user’s eBay account. From there, Kirk was able to spend any available money immediately.

Unfortunately for the defrauded users, PayPal has a policy not to reimburse users if their goods purchased are sent to an address different to the one registered on the website. As Kirk would change the delivery address to his home address, all of his activities resulted in an unrecoverable loss for his victims.

Fortunately, this ruffian has now been put behind bars and his story can be used to educate online users as to how to conduct their online activities in a safe and secure manner.