Major hacks at retailers that include Target and Neiman Marcus have put a new spotlight on the security of point of sale (POS) systems. What may come as a surprise to some is that the recent memory-scraping malware attacks were nothing new. Last year, Visa published two "Visa Data Security Alerts" warning merchants of an increase in attacks targeting credit card data with specific references to memory-scraping malware.
The alerts were published in April and August. The first stated that Visa has seen an increase in network intrusions involving grocery merchants since January 2013. August's update used nearly the same verbiage but mentioned retail instead of grocery. The part that's of particular interest is how the attackers were carrying out the attacks.
"Once inside the merchant's network, the hacker will install memory parser malware on the Windows based cash register system in each lane or on Back-of-the-House (BOH) servers to extract full magnetic stripe data in random access memory (RAM)."
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