EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 866 - October 11, 2004     1 of 4

New eBay System Checks Security of Your Password

By Mark O'Neill

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eBay Germany has announced the creation of a new feature designed to test the vulnerability of new passwords from hackers.

From now on, when you register a new eBay ID and enter a new password, or when you change your password, a yellow bar will appear next to the password field. The more secure the password, the higher the yellow bar will go. If the yellow bar remains low, that is eBay's way of telling you that your password is not secure and you should change it to something else immediately.

Upon testing the new system, I discovered that eBay will not reject non-secure passwords but only warn you the password is non-secure. If you choose to ignore this, eBay will still accept your non-secure password, provided it is 6 characters or more. I changed my password to various possibilities such as "password," "oneill," "wurzburg" (where I live), monika (my girlfriend's name) and scotland (where I come from). eBay accepted them all even though the yellow bar was only halfway along, indicating the password didn't meet with their full approval.

The yellow bar remained low when I changed my password to "ebayer" or "camelot" (Camelot-de is my eBay user name). However, the yellow bar was very high when I entered random passwords such as "6g6J8lSS3p."

Random, hard-to-crack passwords meet with high approval, while proper names and common words are going to be met with electronic disgust by the eBay computers.

eBay news announcing the change (in German)

About the author:

Mark O'Neill is Managing Editor of the popular tech blog, He is a Scotsman, now living the ex-pat life in Wurzburg, Germany. You can also find him on MarkO'

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