Menu
The 'Backoff' malware linked to data breaches is spreading

The 'Backoff' malware linked to data breaches is spreading

A rising number of devices are connecting to Backoff-related infrastructure, Damballa says

The number of computers in North America infected by the Backoff malware, which is blamed for a string of payment card breaches, has risen sharply, according to research from network security company Damballa.

The company detected a 57 percent increase between August and September in devices infected with Backoff, which scrapes a computer's RAM for leftover credit card data after a payment card has been swiped, said Brian Foster, Damballa's CTO.

Damballa based its finding on data it collects from its ISP and enterprise customers, who use its traffic analysis products to detect malicious activity.

Damballa sees about 55 percent of internet traffic from North America, including DNS requests, though for privacy reasons it doesn't know the IP addresses of most of those computers, Foster said.

The company runs a Hadoop cluster at its Atlanta headquarters, where it analyzes the DNS requests and classifies them as good or potentially malicious by looking at the servers being contacted.

"We actually attribute the behaviors we see -- as well as the domain names and IP addresses that malware is looking up -- to threat actors and threat groups," Foster said.

"We track a set of domain characteristics and domain names that are related to Backoff, and it's looking at the volume of those lookups that shows us the increase."

The retail industry is struggling to contain attacks targeting payment card data, and RAM-scraping malware has hit big-name companies like Home Depot, Target and Dairy Queen. The Department of Homeland Security warned in August that as many as 1,000 enterprise and small-business networks may be infected with Backoff and not know it.

Damballa has greater visibility into the networks of companies that use its services, Foster said, enabling it to warn those that may be infected. For ISPs that use its services, Damballa can alert them that their customers may have been infected and leave it to the IPSs to pass along the message.

ISPs have become more active about notifying customers, he said. That's been spurred by a desire to avoid government regulation, especially among the larger ISPs, he said. They also want to ensure the performance of their networks, since they increasingly offer high-bandwidth entertainment services.

"They see security as an enabler for a lot of their other business practices," Foster said.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securityDamballa

Featured

Slideshows

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Typically, the New Year brings new opportunities for personnel within the Kiwi channel. 2017 started no differently, with a host of appointments, departures and reshuffles across vendor, distributor and reseller businesses. As a result, the job scene across New Zealand has changed - here’s a run down of who is working where in the year ahead…

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel
​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

Digital Transformation (DX) has been a critical topic for business over the last few years and IDC is now predicting a step change as DX reaches macroeconomic levels. By 2020 a DX economy will emerge and it will become the core of what New Zealand industries focus on. From the board level through to the C-Suite, Kiwi organisations must be prepared to think and act digital when the DX economy emerges in 2017.

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?
Top 15 Kiwi tech storylines to follow in 2017

Top 15 Kiwi tech storylines to follow in 2017

​The New Year brings the usual new round of humdrum technology predictions, glaringly general, unashamedly safe and perpetually predictable. But while the industry no longer sees value in “cloud is now the norm” type projections, value can be found in following developments of the year previous, analysing behaviours and patterns to formulate a plan for the 12 months ahead. Consequently, here’s the top Kiwi tech storylines to follow in 2017...

Top 15 Kiwi tech storylines to follow in 2017
Show Comments