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Password Reset Flaws Exposed Accounts of Betfair Users

Experts discovered that the password recovery feature on the website of Betfair, one of the world’s largest online betting exchanges, was plagued by some serious security holes.

Experts discovered that the password recovery feature on the website of Betfair, one of the world’s largest online betting exchanges, was plagued by some serious security holes.

In September 2014, reports surfaced on a forum that Betfair’s website allowed users to reset their passwords simply by providing the username/email address and the date of birth associated with the account. In late 2014, Yahoo iOS developer Tom Thorpe reported the same problem. Thorpe said the flawed password reset process affected accounts with less than £100.

As soon as they entered their username and date of birth, users were instructed to set a new password, without being asked to click on a link received via email or answer security questions. As experts have pointed out, obtaining a user’s username and date of birth is in many cases an easy task.

VentureBeat reporter Paul Sawers contacted Betfair support over Twitter regarding the issue earlier this month, but support staff couldn’t immediately reproduce the vulnerability and denied that the issue existed.

Australian security expert Troy Hunt created a video demonstrating how easy it was to change the password for an account simply by knowing the account holder’s username and date of birth.

Another security flaw in Betfair’s password recovery feature was reported by a user on Reddit. He noticed that when users tried to reset their passwords via a password reset email, there was a hidden form on the page containing the address to which the password reset email was being sent. This email address could have been easily changed using the developer tools in the web browser so that the password reset email would be sent to an arbitrary address.

Clicking the link in the password reset email took users to a page where they were asked to enter their date of birth and answer a security question in order to set a new password. UK-based professional IT geek James Harland created a video to demonstrate the existence of the flaw.

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The online betting giant says it has addressed both vulnerabilities. Betfair representatives told SecurityWeek that the issues have been reviewed and the password reset process for all Betfair accounts now involves email authentication and at least one security question. The company declined to comment any further on the matter.

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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