Target Breach: 8 Facts On Memory-Scraping Malware

Target confirmed that malware compromised its point-of-sale systems. How does such malware work, and how can businesses prevent infections?

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User Rank: Moderator
1/16/2014 | 6:28:29 PM
Target Breach
I posted this against another article, but I think it's important enough to repeat here.

Before the hackers damage another retailer, let me suggest a way of preventing this happening again. The benefit of this solution, originall designed for internet purchasing, is that it saves the credit card companies from having to invest in expensive EMV cards and, as a side benefit, a lost or stolen card will be useless to the thief. Also, very little modification needs to be made to the POS terminal. Further, the customer never sends his credit card details to the retailer, and the retailer's transaction records contain no usable information.
1. Remove all data from the credit card and its magnetic stripe, except for a simple User ID and, perhaps, the expiry date.
2. The credit card company installs a fraudproof authentication system, as described in, in its data centre.
3. The customer and retailer have accounts on the authentication system.
4. When the customer needs to make a purchase, he logs in to the authentication system belonging to the appropriate credit card company, giving his user ID and the amount of the purchase.
5. The retailer also logs in to the system, giving his merchant number, or User ID, and the customer's User ID (taken from the POS in use)
6. The credit card company knows the user's card number, so if he's been authenticated, it checks for a match with the retailer's submission.
7. If there's a match, it performs the usual checks for limits, expiry etc, issues an approval, pays the retailer etc.
User Rank: Apprentice
1/15/2014 | 7:30:13 PM
Re: Another reason...

Interesting concept. Paying with cash would make these POS machines obsolete however hackers would probably focus their efforts on financial institutions and hack you that way. I say that in jest as cards are not going away anytime soon but you make a good point.
User Rank: Apprentice
1/15/2014 | 7:11:53 AM
Re: Another reason...
Indeed. The convenience factor of using a debit/credit card would also be offset by having to carefully review one's statement online every 24-48 hours for signs of abuse.
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Ninja
1/14/2014 | 8:18:24 PM
Another reason... pay with cash. I wonder what the relative risk of being robbed is compared to the risk of being hacked.
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