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Blippy Exposes Credit Card Numbers Through Simple Google Search 95

Posted by Soulskill
from the making-it-easy-on-the-scammers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In an unfortunate data breach, social media site Blippy has left credit card numbers in clear text, searchable via a simple Google query. The results show the amount spent on a transaction, the location, and the full card number. As of this submission, the issue still hasn't been resolved." The company's co-founder, Philip Kaplan, told the NY Times, "... when people link their credit cards to Blippy, merchants pass along their raw transaction data – including some credit card numbers – and the site scrubs that information to present just the merchant and the dollar amount spent. But several months ago, when Blippy was being publicly tested, that raw transaction data was present in the site's HTML code, where it was retrieved by Google. Mr. Kaplan said that early on, Blippy started disguising the raw transaction data behind the scenes, but it did not know about the breach until today."
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Blippy Exposes Credit Card Numbers Through Simple Google Search

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  • by alain94040 (785132) * on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:25PM (#31959318) Homepage

    As of this submission, the issue still hasn't been resolved

    Not true. If I read the explanation carefully, what really happened is that some credit card companies sometimes add the CC number to the description of the purchased item. Bad! Which also means that on your printed statement for instance, your full CC number will appear. During beta testing of Blippy, they were not aware of that "feature", so they let through the full CC number of 4 beta testers. Once they figured it out, they easily added a filter.

    If you were a beta tester for a service like Blippy, you can't be too shocked that this might happen. A better discussion would be what is Blippy really good for? I can see why I might like to browse other people's purchases once in a while, but why would I want to broadcast mine?

    --
    better than an internship in a startup: become a founder! [fairsoftware.net]

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by boneclinkz (1284458)
      *browses to google, searches for full credit card number* No results. Whew!
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      Wow, talk about a misleading story. Oh well, it's hard to be surprised with /. anymore.

      Offtopic, I know, but do any of you know of any sites better than slashdot? Or does (mostly) intelligent discussion just not exist on the internet..

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:30PM (#31959366)

        Offtopic, I know, but do any of you know of any sites better than slashdot? Or does (mostly) intelligent discussion just not exist on the internet..

        You might try here [4chan.org]

      • You might want to go swing by Youtube, pretty much all the people who post comments there are so intelligent they are never wrong.

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        Intelligent discussion does exist. You just have this repulsion field around you that ensures you are never involved when intelligent discussion takes place.

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by travdaddy (527149)
        Yeah, check out the comments at CNN.com and Yahoo.com.

        It's not intelligent discussion but it will make you appreciate Slashdot more.
      • Offtopic, I know, but do any of you know of any sites better than slashdot? Or does (mostly) intelligent discussion just not exist on the internet..

        I'd have to say that intelligent discussion doesn't exist on the internet ... at least not anywhere I post. Hmm ...

    • by blair1q (305137) on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:45PM (#31959576) Journal

      Which CC companies do this, so we can avoid them and let them rot?

      • Most bank offer single-use or single-merchant "virtual" card number, which allow for only single use or for use within the same merchant. In the statement, it will show the name of the merchant, along with which "virtual" card number you used.

        Even if you picked up one of these numbers, there is no use.

        • by blair1q (305137)

          Well, sure, then. The number is good for one transaction. Exposing it is no problem at all. In fact, it's entirely the point of a one-time-use identifier. You can tattoo your old ones down your arm like Angelina Jolie's spawning coordinates.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by natehoy (1608657)

        There are two pieces of good news here.

        1) Credit card companies only do this for "disposable" credit card numbers, which are usually only used for one transaction. No credit card company I've ever done business puts the full CC# of your master account on every line of your statement,

        2) The REALLY good news is that such numbers only appear on your credit card statement,

        So this information is relatively harmless, since most credit cards revealed this way would be invalid by the time they were revealed. Pl

    • by MaWeiTao (908546)

      A better discussion would be what is Blippy really good for? I can see why I might like to browse other people's purchases once in a while, but why would I want to broadcast mine?

      I know someone working at a company developing something very similar to this. To this day I'm having trouble figuring out where the value in this is. Why would people want to share what they're buying? And why would anyone else care?

      I suppose there's value in this when shopping for deals or encouraging someone to get something. Bu

    • Why to broadcast your purchases: Reputation

      I'm not going to defend this as a good or a bad idea, but by having a separate authoritative channel, they've basically made it possible to verify that someone who posts a review of a product actually owns the product, rather than just being a troll or a shill.

      This effectively addresses head on the recent issues that "Yelp" has had in terms of offering paid advertising, using predatory or unethical sales practices, and so on. This is akin to using the getpeername/

      • by KDR_11k (778916)

        I'm not going to defend this as a good or a bad idea, but by having a separate authoritative channel, they've basically made it possible to verify that someone who posts a review of a product actually owns the product, rather than just being a troll or a shill.

        Could work in the other direction too, making people think you didn't buy something just because you paid in cash.

  • Or does the "normal" logic not get applied this time?
    • by Intron (870560)
      Normal logic? You mean "shoot the messenger"?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by natehoy (1608657)

        Well, duh! He's right there when I got the news! What in the hell would you expect me to do? Go out and find who actually did it and shoot THEM?

        Geez, if I had that kind of patience I'd probably lose my American citizenship. Plus then I probably wouldn't be allowed to have a gun so I could shoot someone.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Normal logic? You mean "shoot the messenger"?

        Google doesn't have a "messenger", that's MS & Yahoo you're thinking of. You must mean "shoot the search engine" ;-)

    • All CC numbers have a particular pattern, and there is even a check digit [wikipedia.org]. Why doesn't Google provide a global filter in their search index so that any keyword that matches a credit card number is not indexed? And pages with CC numbers not cached, or blanked in the cache?

      Sites such as bulletin boards frequently get somebody being stupid and posting their credit card number. The mods fix it, but the Google spider gets there first.

  • This issue seems to be resolved already. Maybe this incident was a Good Think (TM). People need to be aware that what they put on social media sites can come back to bite them. Most people shouldn't be putting near the amount of information on the sites as they already do, without even mentioning credit card numbers and recent purchases. If it takes a few people's credit history to make the point to a wider audience, maybe this sort of thing should happen more often...
  • by Sir Holo (531007) on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:40PM (#31959508)
    If you have nothing to hide, then why not?

    /sarcasm (see NYT article) [nytimes.com]
  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:40PM (#31959512) Homepage

    Every idiot knows this; you don't test with customer private data.
    You may randomize/one-way-scramble the real data to anonimize it, but you never, ever use the actual data for tests.

    • ...real data to anonimize it...

      There is a similar word in the English language: Anonymize [reference.com].

      "Repulsion field [slashdot.org]," indeed.

    • by coolgeek (140561)

      You're missing the point altogether. Any entrepreneur with any reasonable experience knows that retention of anything but the last 4 digits of a card number puts you on the wrong side of PCI compliance. These guys are obviously a bunch of amateurs and should not be trusted.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        This is, quite simply, not true. If you doubt me, please check http://www.pcicomplianceguide.org/pcifaqs.php#19 [pcicomplianceguide.org]. Retention of the full credit card number is allowed so long as certain safeguards are in place. The rule about last four is primarily guidance about what should be printed on a receipt.
  • FAIL!!! (Score:1, Funny)

    by oldhack (1037484)
    God, this twit talk is growing on me. Cracks me up.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Blippy exposed as existing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:49PM (#31959652)

    I wonder if this company is F-cked. If there was only a web site that would tell me that...

    • by jonbryce (703250) on Friday April 23, 2010 @03:09PM (#31959932) Homepage

      And for those who don't get the joke, Philip Kaplan, the founder of this site, previously had a site called fuckedcompany.com which charted the demise of dot.com and other companies following the collapse of the internet bubble at the beginning of the century. A f*ckup of this proportion would have probably earned about 60 points out of a total of 100. You get 100 points for bankruptcy proceedings.

  • by nweaver (113078) on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:50PM (#31959678) Homepage

    Who cares about revealing credit card numbers. The bigger question is, why would I want to deal with a business or "social media" site which snitches all my transactions from the businesses, and (i'm presuming) somehow makes them public?

    And WTF are the businesses giving the full credit card number to the social media site at all? That just seems, umm, stupid?

    • by natehoy (1608657) on Friday April 23, 2010 @03:16PM (#31960040) Journal

      Some people are just exhibitionists. "Oooh! Look at me! I just bought a new XYZ phone!" and having that information fed to a social media site automatically means they have more time to, you know, buy more crap.

      As far as the credit card information, it all depends on who is feeding it. According to several articles on the subject, users give Blippy access to their credit card accounts (as in, access to log in to their credit card web site), and Blippy extracts the data it wants from your actual credit card transactions. If you use "temporary" credit card numbers like I do, then quite often the transaction will show up as (for example) "AMAZON.COM CARD#9999-9999-9999-9999". If Blippy is actually getting that data, then it's your credit card company that's revealing the data, not Blippy. If you signed up with Amazon, then you'll probably just get a list of items and it's unlikely a credit card will show through.

      So, the actual credit cards revealed were probably "disposable" numbers that were likely useless by the time they were revealed. However, that does lead to a different point. Who in the hell is giving Blippy their logins for their credit card accounts, or their merchant accounts? I mean, c'mon, really, we're well into April, it's nowhere near the first. Is this some form of sick stupid joke?

      Of course, if one were to, say, GIVE THEIR GODDAMNED CREDIT CARD OR MERCHANT LOGIN INFORMATION TO A GODDAMNED BUNCH OF STRANGERS, then their concept of "security" differs too greatly from mine for us to have a coherent conversation on the matter.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by maken (12497)

        If you dont give your CC# "TO A GODDAMNED BUNCH OF STRANGERS" then how do you buy anything?

        • by natehoy (1608657)

          Sorry, bad wording, allow me to clarify.

          "GIVE THEIR GODDAMNED CREDIT CARD LOGIN INFORMATION OR THEIR GODDAMNED MERCHANT LOGIN INFORMATION."

          I'll gladly hand you my credit card to buy something from you, but I will not write down the credentials to log in to my credit card company's website and administer my card. Yet, that's what Blippy asks people to do, and that's what they do.

        • You may have heard of this item called cash. Yeah, it works a bit like credit cards.
    • by fm6 (162816)

      Somebody had the bright idea that people would want every purchase they ever made available to their friends. Like you, I consider this idea demented, though it wouldn't surprise me if there were a lot of people who would find it kind of cool. Consider some of the other stuff you see online that once would have been totally private.

      As for your WTF: this sort of thing has been going on for years. They do it because it's an extra revenue stream.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rudy_wayne (414635)

        Somebody had the bright idea that people would want every purchase they ever made available to their friends. Like you, I consider this idea demented, though it wouldn't surprise me if there were a lot of people who would find it kind of cool.

        The idea behind Blippy, as best as I can figure, is that your friends can see all the cool stuff you buy and then leave comments telling you how cool you are. However, if you look at Blippy, what you actually see is an endless list of Taco Bell, Wendys, Exxon, Trader

        • by Fnkmaster (89084)

          I mean, either you buy a lot of boring shit, in which case nobody cares. Or you spend lots of fucking money on cool shit, in which case sharing it with the world is utterly obnoxious - nobody wants you to rub their face in how rich you are.

          I don't get it. Then again, I'm one of those people who never really got the point of Twitter either.

        • by Coopjust (872796)
          You'd have to be insane to give money to this site. They are holding back account logins so they can scrape the transactions on debit cards. They have no income.

          High libaility - any way of making money = VC Gold, apparently.

          My guess is they're pitching something like the sponsored tweets. Where vendors can make their store or brands can make their brand/product purchases have some extra notice.
        • by radish (98371)

          Sure they have a way of generating revenue - they have all their user's CC and bank login details!

        • by Firehed (942385)

          Blippy has tons of ways of generating revenue - they're just (consciously) not using them yet. When you have $12mm of runway to work with, you're better off building new features and getting more customers instead of spending your limited engineering resources on generating revenue. That's not universally the case, but when your revenue streams are going to rely on having a massive customer base, it makes sense to spend your VC money on getting customers for as long as that's sustainable.

    • by Jawn98685 (687784)
      Dude! Because it's so kewl, and besides, all your friends are there too.
      /lawn
  • by hedley (8715) <hedley@pacbell.net> on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:56PM (#31959754) Journal

    Use them. Don't *ever* use a 2yr+ plastic #!

    Citibank has this feature, other cards must nowadays also.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by NerdyLove (1133693)
      Anybody with a paypal account can do this as well. It is in the Paypal Toolbar section, but you don't actually need the toolbar to be installed to generate them.
  • Philip Kaplan? (Score:3, Informative)

    by rekoil (168689) on Friday April 23, 2010 @03:02PM (#31959858)

    The same Philip Kaplan that ran F*ckedcompany.com?

    • That was my thoughts. And mobog, and a few other experiments. Glad to see the guy still kicking, if it is the same Phil.
  • sounds like a real baaad idea to me.

  • Users of Blippy want people to know about what they are buying... one more step towards having your entire life open to the world.

    This brings up a point that needs to be looked in to a bit further as our personal information becomes digitized: at what point do you just let go of trying to hide personal numbers (such as credit card and social security) and make them as public as possible and force the system to make sure that YOUR numbers are really your numbers? Honestly, if the banking systems that we u

  • by HalAtWork (926717) on Friday April 23, 2010 @03:10PM (#31959966)
    It just goes to show that if you put information somewhere online, anywhere, it's as good as writing it on bits of confetti and throwing it to the wind. Some will land in mud or in the grass, bushes and trees and be obscured, others may land in the garbage and be ignored or thrown out, but if anyone wants to look hard enough, they'll be able to find it, and some may even come across it without any pretense or forethought. Computers can help people, especially by aggregating large amounts of data, and the more data you put in, the greater the benefit can be to streamlining things for you and helping you discover the best opportunities. But that can also be turned against them since the data is somehow somewhere available.
  • by yuna49 (905461) on Friday April 23, 2010 @03:15PM (#31960026)

    Coincidentally, the Times is running a a story today [nytimes.com] about this new generation of "social" media sites like Blippy. Not only does Blippy want to compile a list of your purchases, they'd like to read your e-mail, too, if you don't mind. From the article:

    The spirit of sharing has already run into some roadblocks. Amazon.com was so wary of the security ramifications of Blippy's idea of letting consumers post everything they bought that, for several months, it blocked the site from allowing people to publish their Amazon purchases.

    In March, Blippy sidestepped Amazon by asking its customers for access to their Gmail accounts, and then took the purchase data from the receipts Amazon had e-mailed them. Blippy says thousands of its users have supplied the keys to their e-mail accounts; Amazon declined to comment.

    Sigh....

  • Blippy blew big bloopers before the bankruptcy blues...
  • There's an incoming generation (and here I'm thinking of kids just entering their teens) who may not buy into the same privacy fears you and I might share. "Why bother with privacy," they think. "Why do I need to be private?" I'm not sure if the change in philosophy is a generational shift to accomodate a wholly different social culture, or if, darkly, it represents an entire generation mindswiped by consumer overlords. Either way, it's troubling.
    • There's an incoming generation (and here I'm thinking of kids just entering their teens) who may not buy into the same privacy fears you and I might share. "Why bother with privacy," they think. "Why do I need to be private?" I'm not sure if the change in philosophy is a generational shift to accomodate a wholly different social culture, or if, darkly, it represents an entire generation mindswiped by consumer overlords.

      Probably the latter.

      Either way, it's troubling.

      Indeed so.

  • Can't wait until I am treated with suspicion for wanting to protect my privacy. I hate my generation.
  • Try this:

    1) Pull a credit card out of your wallet and look at the 16 digit number with format "wwww xxxx yyyy zzzz"
    2) Google the first two groups together in double quotes like this "wwww xxxx"
    3) ???
    4) Profit!
    • Actually, it should be:

      "wwww xxxx" "card#"
    • by Firehed (942385)

      Or just write a loop that runs a Luhn check against a sequence of numbers. About one in eight or so numbers in the sequence will pass as being a "valid" card number - but to run charges against it, you still need some additional data like a billing ZIP code at the very least

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