Researchers uncover vSkimmer malware targeting point-of-sale systems

The malware is being sold on cybercriminal forums, McAfee researchers say

A new piece of custom malware sold on the underground Internet market is being used to siphon payment card data from point-of-sale (POS) systems, according to security researchers from antivirus vendor McAfee.

Dubbed vSkimmer, the Trojan-like malware is designed to infect Windows-based computers that have payment card readers attached to them, McAfee security researcher Chintan Shah said Thursday in a blog post.

The malware was first detected by McAfee's sensor network on Feb. 13 and is currently being advertised on cybercriminal forums as being better than Dexter, a different POS malware program that was discovered back in December.

Once installed on a computer, vSkimmer gathers information about the OS, including its version, unique GUID identifier, default language, hostname, and active username. This information is sent back to the control and command server in encoded format as part of all HTTP requests and is used by the attackers to keep track of individually infected machines. The malware waits for the server to respond with a "dlx" (download and execute) or "upd" (update) command.

VSkimmer searches the memory of all processes running on the infected computer, except for those hardcoded in a whitelist, for information that matches a specific pattern. This process is designed to find and extract card Track 2 data from the memory of the process associated with the credit card reader.

Track 2 data is information stored on the magnetic strip of a payment card and can be used to clone the card, unless the payment card uses the EMV (chip and pin) standard. That said, in an announcement posted earlier this month on a cybercriminal forum, the malware's author said that work is being done to add support for EMV cards and that "2013 will be a hot year."

The malware also provides an offline data extraction mechanism. When an Internet connection is not available, vSkimmer waits for a USB device with the volume name KARTOXA007 to be connected to the infected computer and then copies a log file with the captured data to it, Shah said.

This suggests that vSkimmer was designed to also support payment card fraud operations that benefit from insider help in addition to remote thefts.

VSkimmer is another example of how financial fraud is evolving and how banking Trojan programs are moving from targeting the computers of individual online banking users to targeting payment card terminals, Shah said.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags mcafeesecuritydata breachDesktop securityspywaremalwarefraud

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?