Cyber Thieves Target Retailers With Latest Credit Card Stealing Malware

Ahhhh! Retail data breaches—just in time for the holidays.

Personally, I don’t plan to be anywhere near the malls on ‘Black Friday’ or Black Saturday or Sunday. The savings just aren’t worth the hassle & the deals are not really “big deals” from the retailer’s standpoint –considering their markups. Honestly, most retailers run the exact same sales or better ones online.

That being said, millions of consumers will pound the pavement come 12:01 a.m. looking for those big “steal of a deals”..

If you’re using your debit or credit cards just keep a close eye on your accounts come Saturday, apparently there’s a new sophisticated gang of cyber thugs ready to “steal your deals” & help you spend your money by stealing your credit card numbers!

Tis the season! If you do shop online, you might want to sign up for a PayPal account. 

Happy Holidays!

Join the discussion.

According to Fortune– Hackers are targeting U.S. retailers with a new wave of malware intended to steal credit card and debit card information from payment terminals, according to a cybersecurity firm.

News of the attacks arrive just ahead of holiday shopping season, a particularly busy time of year for the retailers, health care providers, payment card processors, and hospitality companies that may be affected.

“This is by far most the most sophisticated point of sale malware we’ve seen to date,” said Maria Noboa, technical analyst at iSight Partners, whose team discovered the difficult-to-detect malware. “They have such great in-depth understanding of operational security measures, evading detection and the mitigation techniques used,” she said about the coders’ expertise.

The malware in question involves separate modules that run close to computers’ operating systems, making them harder to analyze. These “rootkit” modules—tools that enable the hackers to remain hidden and in control—also use advanced encryption that prevents traditional anti-virus and other monitoring software from detecting them.

“We have found three right now, and we are sure there are more out there,” said Stephen Ward, marketing director at iSight, about the modules. First, there’s a “keylogger,” that records and stores keyboard strokes. Second, there’s an “uploader-downloader” that connects compromised machines with the hackers’ command and control infrastructure, or remote servers that can send and receive data or instructions to and from infected devices. And third, the iSight researchers identified a “POS scraper” that steals payment card information from the memory of retailers’ computers.

Pieces of the malware seem to have been in development as early as 2012, according to iSight. Attacks based on the malware began targeting U.S. retailers a year later, and the assaults are likely ongoing, Noboa said.

iSight named the malware “ModPOS” after its characteristic modules. The firm said it has found no discussion of it on online crime forums, which suggests that a single professional-level hacking group is behind the scam. Although firm evidence is lacking, some indicators suggest that the malware might be Eastern European in origin.

iSight said it began notifying clients of the threat in October, and other retailers more recently in order to give them time to track down and remove the malware from their machines before the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping sprees.

Wendy Nather, research director at the Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center, an industry group that shares cybersecurity information, told Fortune that members of the organization have been hunting for the malware on their systems since learning of it. “I don’t know if anyone has been effective in kicking it off their system, or what measures need to be taken to remove it,” she said. “It’s bigger in functionality, has more sophisticated coding, and it’s trickier about hiding,” compared to other recent [point of sale] malware attacks, she said.

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