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

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
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
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
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
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.