Risk
11/11/2009
11:22 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft Orders Removal Of Blog About Bing Cashback Flaw

In a blog post last Wednesday, Bountii.com co-founder Samir Meghani outlined what he described as "an obvious flaw"

Attorneys for Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) on Friday sent a letter to Samir Meghani, co-founder of price-comparison search engine Bountii.com, demanding that he remove a blog post containing information about generating fake Bing cashback payments.

Bing cashback is a search marketing program that provides online shoppers with cash rebate credit for purchases made through use of Microsoft's Bing search engine. It is a cost-per-acquisition program that allows merchants to specify the amount of promotional funds paid to Microsoft as a sales commission. Microsoft, which operates the program to promote Bing, then passes 100% of the commission to shoppers.

Bing users can earn up to $2,500 annually this way. A 60-day waiting period is required prior to disbursement.

To participate, merchants have the option of using one of two reporting mechanisms, pixel tracking or batch feed. The pixel tracking method isn't as reliable but allows cashback credits to appear immediately in customers' accounts rather than a day after the purchase.

In a blog post last Wednesday, Meghani outlined what he described as "an obvious flaw" in the pixel tracking implementation.

"Anyone can simulate the tracking pixel requests and post fake transactions to Bing," he wrote. "I'm not going to explain exactly how to generate the fake requests so that they actually post, but it's not complicated."

Meghani said that Bing didn't appear to be able to detect fake transactions immediately. He said that he has never bought anything using Bing cashback. Nonetheless, he said that his account showed a balance of $2080.06, the rebate total for two fake $1 orders placed in January and fake orders amounting to $104,000 in October.

Meghani also pointed out that Microsoft's Bing cashback implementation has another security flaw, relying on order IDs in a predictable series. The flaw could allow a malicious user to deny cashback rebates to legitimate users by using up available order ID numbers.

Meghani did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Following receipt of a cease-and-desist letter from Microsoft's legal representatives, Meghani on Saturday said in a blog post that he had complied with Microsoft's demand and removed the post about Bing's cashback flaw.

He also said that Microsoft has closed his Bing cashback account.

"The purpose of my post was to show an implementation problem, not to encourage defrauding Microsoft," he wrote. "I am surprised they would go through this much trouble to make me take down information that is obvious to anyone reading their documentation. I don't like dealing with lawyers, so I've decided to comply with their request."

A Microsoft representative did not respond to a request for comment.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading, September 16, 2014
Malicious software is morphing to be more targeted, stealthy, and destructive. Are you prepared to stop it?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2012-5700
Published: 2014-09-22
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in Baby Gekko before 1.2.2f allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) id parameter to admin/index.php or the (2) username or (3) password parameter in blocks/loginbox/loginbox.template.php to index.php. NOTE: some o...

CVE-2014-0484
Published: 2014-09-22
The Debian acpi-support package before 0.140-5+deb7u3 allows local users to gain privileges via vectors related to the "user's environment."

CVE-2014-2942
Published: 2014-09-22
Cobham Aviator 700D and 700E satellite terminals use an improper algorithm for PIN codes, which makes it easier for attackers to obtain a privileged terminal session by calculating the superuser code, and then leveraging physical access or terminal access to enter this code.

CVE-2014-3595
Published: 2014-09-22
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in spacewalk-java 1.2.39, 1.7.54, and 2.0.2 in Spacewalk and Red Hat Network (RHN) Satellite 5.4 through 5.6 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted request that is not properly handled when logging.

CVE-2014-3635
Published: 2014-09-22
Off-by-one error in D-Bus 1.3.0 through 1.6.x before 1.6.24 and 1.8.x before 1.8.8, when running on a 64-bit system and the max_message_unix_fds limit is set to an odd number, allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (dbus-daemon crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code by sending one m...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio