Menu
FireEye says hackers are racing to compromise POS systems

FireEye says hackers are racing to compromise POS systems

The transition to chip-based cards appears to have spurred cybercriminals to quickly find the low-hanging fruit

Cybercriminals are redoubling efforts to steal payment card details from retailers before new defenses are put in place, according to FireEye.

More than a dozen types of malware were found last year that target point-of-sale systems, the electronic cash registers the process payments at many retailers.

Over the last few years, hackers have successfully breached the systems, targeting weaknesses or software vulnerabilities in order to extract card details to sell on the black market.

As of last October, retailers are liable for fraudulent transactions that are not completed using EMV payment cards, which have a microchip and enhanced security defenses that better shield card data.

Major retailers affected by card breaches in the last few years, including Target, have upgraded their systems. But the cost and long delays in getting new systems certified have delayed the transition, leaving a windows for cybercriminals.

Nart Villeneuve, a senior threat intelligence researcher with FireEye, wrote on Monday that more than a dozen malware families that target POS systems were found last year.

"Criminals appear to be racing to infected POS systems in the United States before U.S. retailers complete this transition," Villeneuve wrote.

In response, card issuers and banks have improved their ability to identify and block potentially fraudulent transactions. But the potential windfall has criminals working overtime.

Villeneuve described a new type of POS malware called Treasurehunt, which steals payment card data from a computer's memory.

"In a typical scenario, Treasurehunt would be implanted on a POS system through the use of previously stolen credentials or through brute forcing common passwords that allow access to poorly secured POS systems," he wrote.

Treasurehunt hasn't been seen widely, which indicates that its creators may be deploying it selectively. A string inside its code indicates it was developed by a group that calls itself Bears Inc.

"Bears Inc. is an actor on an underground cybercrime forum dedicated to credit card fraud," Villeneuve wrote. "Bears Inc. has advertised stolen payment card information for sale."

Another string in the code has a playful message: "Greets to Xylitol and co." Xylitol is the nickname of a well-known malware researcher based in France who writes a popular technical blog.

Hacking POS systems has proved profitable for cybercriminals. It's easy to find so-called "carding" forums where payment card details are priced according to how recently the data was stolen and the potential limit of the card. Cybercriminals have found so much low-hanging fruit that the price for stolen card details has actually fallen.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags hackingsoftwareposcrime

Featured

Slideshows

Leading female front runners of the Kiwi ICT industry honoured at 2019 WIICTA

Leading female front runners of the Kiwi ICT industry honoured at 2019 WIICTA

Reseller News has honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry at the 2019 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards recognised standout individuals across six categories, spanning Entrepreneur, Rising Star, Shining Star, Community, Technical and Achievement. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Leading female front runners of the Kiwi ICT industry honoured at 2019 WIICTA
Reseller News kicks off awards season in 2019 with Judges' Lunch

Reseller News kicks off awards season in 2019 with Judges' Lunch

The 2019 Reseller News Innovation Awards has kicked off with the Judges Lunch in Auckland with 70 judges in the voting panel. The awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors. Photos by Christine Wong.

Reseller News kicks off awards season in 2019 with Judges' Lunch
Reseller News welcomes industry figures for 2019 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures for 2019 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2018 inductees - Chris Simpson, Kendra Ross and Phill Patton - to the third running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing landscape of the technology industry in New Zealand, while outlining ways to attract a new breed of players to the ecosystem. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures for 2019 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments