Security vendor Trend Micro Friday has warned of a new type of point-of-sale (PoS) malware that is being used to attack PoS systems belonging to businesses in the US and Canada.
The malware, which Trend Micro has dubbed MajikPOS, was first spotted infecting PoS systems the last week of January and has been used to steal data on at least 23,400 credit cards, Trend Micro said in an alert.
Trend Micro researchers describe MajikPOS as malware that is similar in purpose to other recent POS data stealing tools, such as FastPOS and ModPOS, but different from them in the manner in which it deploys.
"The attackers are mapping out victims with relatively generic tools ahead of time," says Jon Clay, Trend Micro's global threat communications manager.
Many MajikPOS infections have involved the use of a remote access Trojan (RAT) that appears to have been installed on the systems sometime between August and November last year. The RATs are designed to determine if the systems on which they been installed are worthy of further exploitation.
If the endpoint appears promising, the operators of MajikPOS then use a combination of methods including VNC, Remote Desktop Connection, and command-line FTP to install the PoS malware. The goal is to find systems that are vulnerable without compromising the main weapon in their arsenal, Clay says.
Once potential victims are identified, the attackers use a pair of executables to run the attack — an implant and a scraper for getting the card numbers. The approach ensures that if the initial stage of an attack fails, the core malware itself is not compromised, Clay says.
The method of attack indicates that the operators of MajikPOS have taken active precautions to mitigate the possibility of their malware being screened for and detected. This suggests that the operators of MajikPOS are also the authors the malware, Clay says.
Another interesting aspect of MajikPOS is that it is coded in .NET, which is a somewhat rare choice of a programming framework for malware authors.
Once installed on a system, MajikPOS inventories it thoroughly for payment card numbers, including looking for them in memory, and then exfiltrates the data to its command-and-control server.
Trend Micro's examination of one of the dumps showed it to contain over 23,000 stolen debit and credit card track data. Prices for individual cards ranged from $9 to $39 depending on card type. Bulk pricing ranged from $250 for a set of 10 cards to $700 for 100. Cards in the dump included those issued by American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Diners Club.
Meanwhile, in separate but related news, security blog KrebsOnSecurity disclosed what appears to be a significant breach of PoS data at Select Restaurants, a company that owns several well-known, high-end restaurants around the country.
The breach, according to Krebs, is apparently tied to a previously disclosed intrusion at 24-7 Hospitality Technology, a PoS company that provides credit and debit card processing services to thousands of restaurants and eateries around the country. The malware used in the breach though appears to be different from the one that Trend Micro warned about.