Feeds

ChewBacca point-of-sale keylogger SLURPS your CREDIT CARD data

Latest nasty blamed for theft of 49,000 punters' details

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Point-of-sale malware dubbed ChewBacca has hit dozens of small retailers in 11 countries as far apart as the US, Russia, Canada and Australia.

Researchers at RSA Security have put the ChewBacca Trojan under microscope revealing much more information about a strain of malware targeted at retailers that, whilst not new for security researchers, has escaped widespread notice to date.

ChewBacca features simple keylogging and memory-scraping functionality. The malware earns its moniker from a server login image featuring the heroic Wookie from the Star Wars films. The malware uses the darknet as a communications channel, a blog post by a security researcher at RSA explains.

The malware has logged track 1 and 2 payment cards data scraped from infected PoS systems, and most of the victims are located in the United States. However, despite the obvious similarities, the malware is not related to the modified version of BlackPOS linked to recent mega-heists at shopping giant Target and luxury retailer Neiman Marcus.

"RSA observed that communication is handled through the TOR network, concealing the real IP address of the Command and Control (C&C) server(s), encrypting traffic, and avoiding network-level detection," writes Yotam Gottesman, a senior security researcher in RSA's FirstWatch team.

"The server address uses the pseudo-TLD “.onion” that is not resolvable outside of a Tor network and requires a Tor proxy app which is installed by the bot on the infected machine. The ChewBacca Trojan appears to be a simple piece of malware that, despite its lack of sophistication and defense mechanisms, succeeded in stealing payment card information from several dozen retailers around the world in a little more than two months."

Chewbacca has reportedly been abused in stealing 49,000 payment card details from 45 retailers in 11 countries worldwide. All this is, of course, small beer compared to the 40 million consumer credit and debit cards potentially lifted by the Target breach but still bad news.

And ChewBacca is but one item in a menagerie of retail malware that also include Dexter and Alina.

Richard Moulds, VP product strategy at Thales e-Security, said the spread of malware was unsurprising, given the woeful state of security in retail environments. "In-store point of sale terminals are particularly vulnerable because they handle highly sensitive card holder data, they exist in large numbers so are hard to manage and yet are in notoriously insecure places – the retail store," Moulds explained.

"We already have a solution for protecting PINs and it works just fine, we rarely see stories of stolen PINs. PINs are encrypted directly in the card reader itself by physically hardened circuitry as soon as they are entered by the shopper. "

Moulds described the point of sale terminal as a weak link in a chain that can strengthened through the use of encryption technology.

"They [PINs] are only decrypted when absolutely necessary and only in similarly hardened devices called hardware security modules (HSMs) - everything in between, including the point of sale terminal, only sees scrambled data which is useless to an attacker."

"We should extend this approach to cover all card holder data. Encrypt or tokenise cardholder data at the point of capture and decrypt only on a need to know basis and only in trusted environments," he added. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.