Feeds

You can play Flappy Bird on a POINT OF SALE TERMINAL

That's a VERY bad thing, folks - it means they're easily hacked

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Mobile Point of Sale (MPOS) devices can be easily hacked and leave banks and retailers wide open to fraud, warn infosec researchers.

Security researchers from MWR InfoSecurity, the same security firm that researched serious vulnerabilities in chip-and-PIN devices back in 2012, demonstrated at last week's SyScan security conference in Singapore how it was possible to compromise MPOS terminals with multiple attacking techniques using micro USBs, Bluetooth and a malicious programmable smart card.

Gaining control over the MPOS terminal would open the door to all manner of wrongdoing and shenanigans. For example, crybercriminals could potentially switch the device into insecure mode, capture the PIN code when entered and even enable it to accept stolen credit cards. During their demonstration, MWR InfoSecurity researchers were even able to use the device to play a simplified version of the popular game Flappy Bird.

“What we have found reveals that criminals can compromise the MPOS payment terminal and get full control over it," explained MWR InfoSecurity in a statement about its research. "This would allow an attacker to gather PIN and credit card data, and event change the software on the device so that it accepts illegitimate payments.”

“This shows that card holders paying at MPOS terminals worldwide are potentially at risk,” MWR added. “Banks and retailers should also be wary when implementing this technology as it could leave them open to serious fraud.”

MWR's cyber-ninjas discovered problems with the technology as part on an ongoing research programme into secure payment technologies. The security research firm has notified the vendors involved with detailed information about their research and advise on how the problems might be addressed.

MWR is withholding details on the vulnerabilities found as the devices concerned are currently being used at thousands of retail outlets in the UK and around the world.

A brief abstract of the SyScan talk - entitled Mission mPOSsible - provides a broad outline of the sorts of attacks that might be possible, without going into details. According to MWR:

If you saw our previous PinPadPwn research, you won't be surprised to hear we discovered a series of vulnerabilities which allow us to gain code execution on these devices through each of the available input vectors. We will discuss the weaknesses of current solutions and have live demonstrations for multiple attack vectors, our favourite being a malicious credit card which drops a remote root shell on an embedded mPOS device.

A short video demo of MWR researchers playing a simplified version of Flappy Bird on a hacked MPOS terminal can be found here. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.