Feeds

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

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

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
KER-CHING! CryptoWall ransomware scam rakes in $1 MEEELLION
Anatomy of the net's most destructive ransomware threat
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
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.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.