Feeds

Evil Dexter lurks in card reader, ready to SLASH UP your credit score

Modified malware grabs credit card details of 20,000

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Cybercrooks have created an improved version of the Dexter point-of-sale malware that's being blamed for slurping the credit and debit card details of holiday shoppers.

A new version of Dexter, first discovered by security researchers Seculert about a year ago, has been planted on 31 infected point-of-sale terminals, located in restaurants and famous shops in various major cities of the US, according to infosec start-up IntelCrawler.

The criminals behind the attack are using StarDust, a modified version of the earlier Dexter malware that takes features from other malware strains including BlackPOS and VSkimmer. StarDust (aka Dexter v.2) has been offered for sale on underground hacking forums since August. The new variant is capable of extracting credit card data from the RAM of compromised devices or by key-logging, as well as by capturing and exfiltrating internal network traffic, according to IntelCrawler. Data is sent via FTP to hosts based in Russia.

“Approximately 20,000 credit cards may have been compromised via this Stardust variation and evidence has been sent to the card associations to determine the points of compromise”, said Dan Clements, president of IntelCrawler.

The problem is far from confined to the US. Security researchers at Arbor Networks have been independently documenting the same threat. They note some infections in the US but a much greater number in the world's eastern hemispheres, as explained in a map and blog post here.

Point-of-sale malware is not unprecedented. One previous well known case involved the infection of 150 terminals at Subway sandwich shops. What sets the latest version of Dexter apart is its in-depth “knowledge” of the workings of PoS applications such as Clearview PoS.

It's unclear how the Dexter malware gets itself onto infected systems. Curt Wilson, a senior research analyst with Arbor Networks, does however have a few theories about how the Windows-based malware is spreading.

"The exact method of compromise is not currently known, however PoS systems suffer from the same security challenges that any other Windows-based deployment does,"Wilson writes. "Network and host-based vulnerabilities (such as default or weak credentials accessible over Remote Desktop and open wireless networks that include a PoS machine), misuse, social engineering and physical access are likely candidates for infection."

”Additionally, potential brittleness and obvious criticality of PoS systems may be a factor in the reportedly slow patch deployment process on PoS machines, which increases risk," he added. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.