Menu
New malware program PoSeidon targets point-of-sale systems

New malware program PoSeidon targets point-of-sale systems

The malware combines key logging and memory scraping functionality

Retailers beware: A new Trojan program targets point-of-sale (PoS) terminals, stealing payment card data that can then be abused by cybercriminals.

The new malware program has been dubbed PoSeidon by researchers from Cisco's Security Solutions (CSS) team and, like most point-of-sale Trojans, it scans the RAM of infected terminals for unencrypted strings that match credit card information -- a technique known as memory scraping.

This sensitive information is available in plain text in the memory of a PoS system while it's being processed by the specialized merchant software running on the terminal.

Security experts have long called for the use of end-to-end encryption technology to protect payment card data from the card reader all the way to the payment service provider, but the number of systems with this capability remains low.

The CSS researchers have identified three malware components that are likely associated with PoSeidon: a keylogger, a loader and a memory scraper that also has keylogging functionality.

The keylogger is designed to steal credentials for the LogMeIn remote access application. It deletes encrypted LogMeIn passwords and profiles that are stored in the system registry in order to force users to type them again, at which point it will capture them.

The CSS researchers believe this keylogger is potentially used to steal remote access credentials that are needed to compromise point-of-sale systems and install PoSeidon.

Past studies have showed that PoS terminals are typically compromised through stolen or brute-forced remote access credentials, as many of them are configured for remote technical support.

Once the PoSeidon attackers get access to a PoS terminal, they install a component known as a loader. This component creates the registry keys needed to maintain the infection's persistence across system reboots and downloads another file called FindStr from a hard-coded list of command-and-control (C&C) servers.

As its name implies, FindStr is used to find strings that match payment card numbers in the memory of running processes.

"The malware only looks for number sequences that start with: 6, 5, 4 with a length of 16 digits (Discover, Visa, Mastercard) and 3 with a length of 15 digits (AMEX)," the CSS researchers said in a blog post.

The Trojan then verifies that the captured strings are actually credit card numbers by using an algorithm known as the Luhn formula, and uploads them to one of several command-and-control servers along with other data captured through its key logging functionality.

Unlike other PoS memory scrapers that store captured payment card data locally until attackers log in to download it, PoSeidon communicates directly with external servers and can update itself automatically. It also has defenses against reverse engineering.

"PoSeidon is another in the growing number of Point-of-Sale malware targeting PoS systems that demonstrate the sophisticated techniques and approaches of malware authors," the CSS researchers said. "As long as PoS attacks continue to provide returns, attackers will continue to invest in innovation and development of new malware families."

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Cisco Systemssecuritydata breachdata protectionmalwarefraud

Featured

Slideshows

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2015 and 2016 inductees - Darryl Swann, Dave Rosenberg, Gary Bigwood, Keith Watson, Mike Hill and Scott Green - to the inaugural Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed how the channel can collectively work together to benefit New Zealand, the Kiwi skills shortage and the future of the industry. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch
Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Show Comments