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ZeuS blackhats target online payment providers

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Baddies behind the infamous ZeuS Trojan are diversifying their business by targeting online payment providers as well as online banking accounts.

Transaction security firm Trusteer, which warned of the move on Thursday, compares the development to the evolution of card fraud in the 1990s when fraudsters moved from trying to obtain fraudulent cash advances from banks towards fraudulent foreign currency and retail outlet purchases.

Trusteer has detected 26 different ZeuS configurations targeting online payment provider Money Bookers. Configuration files are a set of instructions on what sites to target for the theft of login credentials, manipulation of HTML pages as presented to users of infected machines and other details.

Another 13 variants of ZeuS, the last released only on 16 January, attempt to steal login credentials of Web Money users. Nochex, another online payment provider that specialises in providing payment processing services to small businesses, is the target of 12 different ZeuS configurations.

Prepaid card provider netSpend and e-gold, a service abused as a payment clearing house by cybercrooks in the past, are also under attack by ZeuS wielding miscreants.

The genuine login page for e-gold requests a user's account number and passphrase, using Captcha technology as a defence against automated brute-force password guessing attacks.

On machines with a variant of ZeuS that targets e-gold users additional elements are presented, requesting an alternate password for an email associated with an account. These details would be used by cybercrooks to gain backdoor access to compromised accounts.

Trusteer reckons increased targeting of online payment providers by the miscreants behind ZeuS will continue, fuelled by the increase use by retailers of these services as alternate payment routes for their web sites.

Naturally enough Trusteer wants to diversify too, by establishing licensing arrangements with online payment providers for its transaction security technology. It also wants consumers to wise up about the dangers of using untrusted endpoint devices, such as shared PCs in libraries, to carry out e-commerce transactions.

More details on Trusteer's findings can be found in a blog entry here. ®

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