Online retailers hit by price tag hacking

About a third of all shopping cart applications have holes in the software that make them vulnerable to electronic price tag hacking.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  March 8, 2001

Electronic price tag hacking is the latest problem online retailers are facing. According to Peggy Wiegle, chief executive of Sanctum, about a third of all shopping cart applications have holes in the software that make them vulnerable to price switching.

“A lot of security products have been geared to the network level, not the application level,” said Wiegle.

Hacker’s can alter the price by using the standard Web browser’s edit page feature to show the hidden HTML code, then saving the page to their computer, altering the price and hitting the publish key on the browser.

According to Saalim Chowdury, CEO, Alphakinetic, 40% of UK online retail sites are susceptible to price hackers. But the scale of the problem is difficult to determine as companies are reluctant to admit they have been victims of hacking.

Steps taken to avoid price tag hacking involve alerts sounding when prices come up low or negative. While Sanctum offers a program which simulates hacking attacks during the development stages, so glitches can be rooted out before the company opens up to the public.

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