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With Drupal+Ubercart, be wary of alternative payment gateways

If you are using Ubercart to do ecommerce with Drupal, be sure to use one of the mainstream payment gatways: or Paypal.

While Ubercart does support a number of alternative payment gateways, the dangers in going with these alternatives are significant. Here's an example of a single day where two of the less well known Ubercart payment modules were exposed as having flaws that allow people to checkout without needing to pay:

SA-CONTRIB-2010-062 - Ogone | Ubercart payment - Access Bypass

SA-CONTRIB-2010-064 - Ubercart MIGS Payment Gateway - Web Parameter Tampering

This means the cornerstone of your ecommerce - payment - could be completely side-stepped. This is is just one example of why we recommend using one of the mainstream gateways.

I do not mean to disparage the hard work of those individuals – I know both the maintainers and coordinators within the Drupal security team worked hard to get timely fixes published. However if you (or your client) must select an alternative gateway, it's vital that you commit adequate time to testing and Q/A of the payment processor.

Date posted: June 17, 2010


On what basis do you assert that the default payment processors in Ubercart _are_ secure and according to gateway specification?

In other words, wouldn't you commit equal adequate time to testing and Q/A of the default payment processors?

You're actually saying two different things here. In the first paragraph, you say that you should be SURE not to use any gateways other than or PayPal, but then in the rest of the article, you point out that one should be doing sufficient testing on alternate gateways.

I appreciate the heads-up on security issues with two specific payment gateway implementations, but one should not conclude from these two examples that every single other payment gateway module is automatically flawed and should not be used. I feel like you're crying wolf a little here. If there are issues with other gateway modules, please do highlight them, but I do feel that this post creates FUD.

I agree there's absolutely no guarantee of safety when using a big-name gateway either. I don't mean to imply that you can blindly trust popular modules; but in my experience they require vastly less time to test.

The reality for developers is that the Q/A budget is finite. A recent Ubercart project I completed contains over 300,000 lines of code (including core, Ubercart, and other contributed modules). This is a pretty typical setup, and it's simply not possible to exhaustively test every line of code.

As a result, testing tends to be supplemented with other proxy measurements, including:

  • Past experience with the module
  • The activity in the project's commit logs and issue queue on d.o
  • Coder module checks
  • Usage stats

While not perfect, the usage stats do reveal a lot about the amount of testing likely to have been performed by other users. This peer review is one of the reasons we choose open source in the first place!

Getting back to payment gateways, the median usage for alternative gateways is 12, compared to over 18,000 for Ubercart itself.

Module Usage
uc_alipay 48
uc_ccavenue 4
uc_dineromail 14
uc_dotpay_pl 10
uc_ebs 5
uc_echopay 3
uc_epdq 9
uc_eway 74
uc_flo2cash 2
uc_gestpay 12
uc_migs 15
uc_moneris 53
uc_mpay24 1
uc_mygate 6
uc_nbepay 3
uc_netbanx 4
uc_ogone 63
uc_paymentexpress 20
uc_protx_vsp_direct 113
uc_realex 15
uc_saferpay 8
uc_securepayau 15
uc_securetrading 18
uc_skipjack 10
uc_tranzila 13
uc_turkish_banks 5
uc_webmoney 54
uc_zpayment 20

I was just looking at this long list of payment processing companies and was wondering which one to go with... Problem solved! Paypal it is!

One way to solve this problem, at least in part would be to have a PHP payment processing library hosted on github and shared across multiple projects. It is not very efficient for each gateway/processor to be reimplemented for each project. The RoR community has this with ActiveMerchant and it would be nice to see it replicated for the other popular languages, firstly PHP and Python.

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About the Author

Joaquin Lippincott, CEO

Joaquin is a 20+ year technology veteran helping to lead businesses in the move to the Cloud. He frequently speaks on panels about the future of tech ranging from IoT and Machine Learning to the latest innovation in the entertainment industry.  He has helped to modernize software for industry leaders like Sony, Daimler, Intel, the Golden Globes, Siemens Wind Power, ABC, NBC, DC Comics, Warner Brothers & the Linux Foundation.

As the CEO and Founder of Metal Toad, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, his primary job is to "get the right people in the room".  This one responsibility is cross-functional and includes both external business development functions as well as internal delegation and leadership development.

A UCLA alumni, he also serves in the community as a Board Member for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, and Stand for Children Oregon - a public education political advocacy group. As an outspoken advocate for entry-level job creation in tech he helped found the non-profit, P4TH, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of entry-level jobs in the tech industry, and is in the process of organizing an Advisory Board for the Bixel Exchange, a Los Angeles non-profit that provides almost 200 tech internships every year.


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