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Target Breach: 5 Unanswered Security Questions
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rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/22/2014 | 4:23:17 PM
Exploiting Payment Servers vs. POS Controllers
"Exploited payment servers not POS systems, not store controllers running Windows..."

Isn't BlackPOS Windows malware?  At least I thought it was.  Perhaps I'm mistaken.  If it is Windows malware, what difference does it make that they didn't compromise POS systems or store controllers running Windows?  Either way they still compromised Windows.

I guess it's probably worse if they compromised payment servers since by design, they should be even more critically protected than an individual POS as they are a much higher value target.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/22/2014 | 6:30:04 PM
PIN numbers
I'm curious about PIN numbers for debit cards. Target said PIN numbers were taken in the breach, but that the numbers were encrypted. And that claim has not backfired as far as I know.

Do we know if encrypted PIN numbers can be accessed when BlackPOS malware is running on the POS device and/or the payment servers? I guess if stolen PIN numbers were being exploited we would know by now.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/22/2014 | 8:47:46 PM
Re: PIN numbers
Based soley on how the RAM scraping works, stealing the PIN codes is certainly possible if they were transmitted from the pin pad to an infected system.  I too read they were encrypted but I don't know if that was fact or damage control to prevent panic.

I don't know if we would know by now.   The criminals could be waiting for a future opportunity.  Right now this is highly publicized.  If I had millions of valid cards, I'd would think using them in an "Office Space" manner (Superman 2, Richard Pryor stealing fractional pennies) would be lucrative and potentially repeatable for a long duration.  Better to stay below the radar by adding a $5.13 charge from Starbuks (pun intended) to millions of accounts...
Mathew
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Mathew,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 4:46:04 AM
Re: PIN numbers
PIN codes are encrypted, and there's a debate in the secrity community now about whether they can be cracked. (Or if it will be worth the effort.)

In terms of stealth moves -- hello "Office Space" -- in fact card data has a finite life, thanks to "card brands" either invalidating those numbers and issuing new cards (as some have done) or else using "enhanced fraud protection measures" (i.e. not paying for the cost of reissuing a card, and hoping to spot any fraudulent transactions -- more fun for cardholders). So there's an impetus for carders to move the goods quickly.

On that front, Brian Krebs said via Twitter yesterday: "Another set of 2 million cards stolen from Target ("Eagle Claw") goes on sale at Rescator sites (all part of batch stolen 11/27 - 12/15)."

Mathew
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Mathew,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 4:55:59 AM
Re: Exploiting Payment Servers vs. POS Controllers

BlackPOS is Windows malware. But some POS terminals run Windows. Others, Java. So there was a question -- which hasn't yet been officially answered -- about whether attackers managed to infect POS terminals themselves, for example if they were Internet-connected and set to use a default password. Then a secondary hack of a system inside Target might have served as the command-and-control server (mothership), and routed stolen data via FTP to Russia. 

That's crucial information for other retailers looking to avoid a copycat hack against their systems. 

But based on what's known now, it looks like the payment system was hacked. From a time/effort standpoint, this makes a lot of sense. Launch a phishing attack (again, just a guess) that manages to sneak malware onto the Windows system that manages payment processing -- i.e. sends/receives data from all of those POS terminals in stores  -- and you have an elegant (from an attacker's perspective) way to siphon large amounts of card data. Add the twist of only sending this information out of the firewall to an attacker-controlled server during working hours, and you make related data exfiltration tougher to spot. 

rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 6:06:28 AM
What OS?
Java isn't an OS.  What OS is under Java?  If it's Windows...
Mathew
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Mathew,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 6:12:57 AM
Re: What OS?
No, not an OS. But yes, before more details emerged, it could have been Windows underneath, or Linux runing the POS device. The terminals themselves could also have been running a Java VM, with Internet-connected Java apps runnning on these devices, opening up the possibility that they'd somehow been exploited. But that doesn't appear to be the case.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 6:20:25 AM
Re: Exploiting Payment Servers vs. POS Controllers
"30 out of 48 antivirus engines are detecting the malware". I wonder what restrictions are stopping 18 antivirus engines from adding detection definition for this particular malware. One reason that I can think of is that maybe virus definitions are not easy to share between antivirus firms -- copyright issue. Or maybe this threat is being viewed as low risk by some, because their customer base is from a different segment.   
rradina
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50%
rradina,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 6:20:35 AM
Re: PIN numbers
If the card isn't replaced, what makes the stolen data finite?  My card was part of the Target breach and it has not been replaced. I added an e-mail alert for charges of $10 or more (the lowest amount allowed by my bank).  The enhanced protection is if I catch the fraud and report it.  Then I'll get a new card.  Until that happen's, it's quite possible that criminals could blend small charges as long as they are not from overseas.  Those charges are more scrutunized by institutions.  (I once bought a cable for a few bucks from a Chinese on-line supplier.  My bank shut down my card thinking fraud.  When my dinner charge was rejected, it took a 20 minute phone call to get it resolved.  Of course it didn't help that the supplier had an unrecognizeable funky name and was located in Taiwan!)
rradina
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50%
rradina,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 6:29:53 AM
Re: What OS?
Knowinng specifics is important to all but what does running a Java VM mean?  Lot's of current scare tactics regarding Java security are unfounded if you aren't running applets in browsers with an unsupported or unpatched version of Java.  Hopefully the security folks don't preach a scorched earth policy in the direction of Java or Windows.  If the POS software, whatever it or the OS is, was running with unneccessary elevated privileges, Target already has three strikes.
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