More than a year later, Alam said he did not receive any further information from the company, while the bug remained active. In December, Alam contacted Gadgets 360, and by creating a dummy account with a secret detail, we were able to confirm that Alam could in fact take over an account if he was aware of the email ID used to sign up.
Given how widely email IDs are used, it wouldn’t be difficult for someone to obtain anyone’s email ID, and then through this, get other details like a person’s home address, compromising their safety and security.
In chats with Gadgets 360, Alam explained that he “did not want to make the issue public while the bug was still active, as that could put user accounts at risk.”
Gadgets 360 then reached out to the company, and exchanged emails with its Chief Information Officer Ranjan Sharma who responded quickly and collected information about Alam’s findings. After getting the details, Sharma replied that he would “check.” A week later, when asked for updates, Sharma replied that the bug had been fixed.
“First of all let me thank you for bringing this to our notice,” he said via email. “We did a deep dive and found a version issue with our system and hence the token exchange was getting missed out which we fixed the same day. We are also working on a plan to reach out to our registered customers.”
At this point, we asked for information about how many customers use the site, and whether the company has any bug bounty program to encourage security researchers towards bringing in reports. However, Sharma did not share any responses after that and it’s unclear if any users were informed — the test account we created did not receive any updates about its information being breached — three months after the issue was disclosed to the company and the bug fixed.
Sharma and Bestseller responded quickly when contacted by Gadgets and resolved the issue once it was discussed, which is a positive development. However, the lack of communication to users is one area that could certainly be improved upon.
The bug in question, as demonstrated by Alam, was fairly simple, and it is possible that any number of user data could have been compromised by this flaw. However, this is in line with a continuing problem in India, where security researchers are actively discouraged from exploring weaknesses in online systems — and users are rarely, if ever, told about problems unless the matter goes public from other sources.