Feeds

ATTACK of the Windows ZOMBIES on point-of-sale terminals

Infosec bods infiltrate botnet, uncover crap password security

The essential guide to IT transformation

Security watchers have spotted a fresh Windows-based botnet that attempts to hack into point-of-sale systems.

Cyber threat intelligence firm IntelCrawler reports that the “@-Brt” project surfaced in May through underground cybercrime forums. The malware can be used to brute-force point-of-sale systems and associated networks, using data such as "subnet IP ranges and commonly used operators, supervisor, and back office administrator logins, some of which are default manufacturers' passwords".

The main tactic appears to be using botnets to scour the net for Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) servers that have weak or default passwords before mapping and subsequently hacking vulnerable point of sale systems (POS). Compromised POS systems might then be loaded up with malware capable of scraping card details processed through affected terminal.

Official technical documentation from some POS vendors can be used to discover default passwords. In other cases the Windows PC botnet established by cybercrooks can be used to figure out login credentials by trying every possible combination, a classic brute-force attack tactic. Cybercrooks have optimised this process, as an advisory from IntelCrawler explains:

The bad actors distribution of the “@-Brt” botnet allows for active scanning of multiple IPv4 network ranges of specific TCP ports and parallel brute forcing of available remote administration protocols such as VNC, Microsoft RDP and PCAnywhere. The identified malware supports multithreading, which allows to speed-up the process of gaining unauthorised access to merchants for further data theft.

Windows PCs on the networks of merchants are among the hijacked systems getting press-ganged into the assault, whose ultimate aim is stealing credit card and information to carry out fraud, quite possibly on a grand scale. IntelCrawler suspects that several different team of crooks are running parallel campaigns based on the use of different approaches.

IntelCrawler’s analysts have successfully infiltrated the bot network. This has allowed them to figure out the most commonly used passwords for compromised POS terminals as well as the geographical distribution of the infected hosts taking part in the attack.

Weak passwords – such as “aloha12345” (13 per cent), “micros” (10 per cent), pos12345 (8 per cent), “posadmin” (7 per cent) and “javapos” (6.30 per cent) - predominate. IntelCrawler strongly recommends that strengthen passwords used for POS terminals, as well as to monitor suspicious incoming network traffic. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
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
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
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.