The research group that included IU Bloomington School of Informatics and Computing Associate Professor XiaoFeng Wang and doctoral student Rui Wang, as the lead author, was able to receive electronics, DVDs, digital journal subscriptions, personal health care items and other products either free or at prices the group itself determined.
Leading merchant applications NopCommerce and Interspire, cashier-as-a-service (CaaS) providers such as Amazon Payments and some popular online merchants all contained serious logic flaws that would allow malicious users to exploit inconsistencies in how payment statuses were perceived by the merchants and CaaS providers (Amazon Payments, PayPal and Google Checkout). The researchers in some cases were able to convince the web stores they had paid for an item through Amazon Payment while actually making the payment into their own merchant account at Amazon.
"We believe that it is difficult to ensure the security of a CaaS-based checkout system in the presence of a malicious shopper who intends to exploit these knowledge gaps between the merchant and the CaaS," XiaoFeng Wang said. "This trilateral interaction (between merchant apps, online stores and the CaaS) can be significantly more complicated than typical bilateral interactions between a browser and a server, which have already been found to be fraught with subtle logic bugs."
Most of the flaws were due to lapses in merchant software, they said, but responsibility also fell on the CaaSs. In one case the researchers discovered an error in Amazon Payments' software development kit that led to the company significantly altering the way it verifies payment notifications.
More troubling, the report notes, is that the preliminary study touched only on the simplest trilateral interactions and not on other real-world applications that involve even more parties, like marketplaces and auctions, which the researchers now believe could be even more error-prone.
"This calls for further security studies about such complicated multi-party web applications," said Rui Wang. "Our analysis revealed the logic complexity in CaaS-based checkout mechanisms, and the effort required to verify their security properly when developing and testing these systems. We believe this study takes the first step in the new security problem space that hybrid web applications bring."
The research group, which also included Shuo Chen and Shaz Qadeer of Microsoft Research in Redmond, Wash., said it now hopes to explore whether similar flaws can be found that would allow malicious users to purchase two items at extremely different prices and then return the cheaper one while receiving a refund for the more expensive item.
"An interesting question might be whether we can check out a $1 order and a $10 order and cancel the $1 order to get $10 refunded," Rui Wang added.
In each case where flaws were found the researchers reported their findings to the affected parties, received acknowledgements from the parties, returned any property received, and worked with them to correct the flaws.
In January 2011 Rui Wang and XiaoFeng Wang, his doctoral adviser, and Shuo Chen, the Microsoft researcher, were part of a team that uncovered Facebook vulnerabilities that allowed malicious websites to access and share private user data. Facebook later confirmed it had repaired the vulnerabilities. (Original press release here: http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/17192.html)
XiaoFeng Wang is also acting director of the IU Center for Security Informatics and is an affiliated researcher at IU's Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research.
Their current work, "How to Shop for Free Online: Security Analysis of Cashier-as-a-Service Based Web Stores," will be formally presented in May at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' annual Symposium on Security and Privacy in Oakland, Calif. The research paper can be viewed here: http://www.informatics.indiana.edu/xw7/papers/caas-oakland-final.pdf
For more information or to speak with Rui Wang or XiaoFeng Wang, please contact Steve Chaplin, University Communications, at 812-856-1896 or email@example.com.
Rui Wang | Newswise Science News
New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans
16.01.2017 | University of Southern California
Fraunhofer FIT announces CloudTeams collaborative software development platform – join it for free
10.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction