Bug Might Allow Thieves to Steal Money from PayPal Accounts

  • By Patrick Ryan
  • May 23, 2022

The failure to quickly patch a bug might empower online criminals to steal money directly out of the accounts of PayPal users. A digital security researcher discovered the vulnerability in question unaffiliated with PayPal. The flaw supposedly makes it easy for digital miscreants to make targets think they are clicking something that will not cause any harm. In reality, the clicks are processing transactions as directed by the hackers.

What is Clickjacking?

The hackers use clickjacking, also referred to as user interaction redressing, for the attack. This technique centers on tricking a target into clicking seemingly harmless page components such as buttons with the underlying motive of getting the target to download malware and move the target along to the point where they visit a malicious website or forks over valuable information.

The target is shown an invisible page or a visible page with an HTML element superimposed, creating the impression that a legitimate page is being clicked when the element above is what is receiving the clicks. The criminal is actually hijacking clicks intended for the actual page only for those surfers to be redirected to another page after clicking. The target is redirected to a site owned by a separate entity.

Who Identified the Digital Security Flaw?

A user named “h4x0r_dz” identified the flaw and potential problems resulting from a digital attack. The user in question identified the problem on the endpoint pertaining to PayPal’s user agreements and approval page.

When Was the Flaw Reported?

According to the user named above, he or she notified PayPal of the digital security flaw at the time it was discovered in October of 2021.

How are PayPal Accounts Compromised in the Attack?

The endpoint in question was created with Billing Agreements in mind. The endpoint should strictly accept the billingAgreementToken. However, during deep testing, it was determined that another type of token is permitted to pass, causing money to be stolen directly out of the target PayPal user’s account. In other words, the hacker could embed the endpoint noted above within an iframe, lead the victim within a browser to transfer money to the PayPal account controlled by the criminal, and move the funds with merely a click of a mouse button.  

Contrary to popular opinion, PayPal is making it easier to add to balance using funds from a PayPal account instead of funds from a checking account or credit card. Unfortunately, the hacker takes advantage of this opportunity, using exploits or simply using the target’s account to transfer funds from one PayPal account to another.  

What is PayPal’s Response to the Digital Security Weakness?

PayPal’s public relations specialists have not commented on the matter. Other businesses can learn from this fiasco by updating their digital security protections as soon as possible. Stay tuned as PayPal is likely to issue a formal statement regarding the digital security exploit at some point in the near future.

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