New payment card malware hard to detect and remove

Nemesis, which comes from a suspected Russian group, is a bootkit

FireEye says it has discovered a type of malware designed to steal payment card data that can be very difficult to detect and remove.

The cybercriminal group behind the malware, which FireEye nicknamed "FIN1," is suspected of being in Russia and has been known to target financial institutions.

The malware, which FIN1 calls Nemesis, infected an organization that processes financial transactions, which FireEye did not identify.

Payment card data is highly sought after by cybercriminals, who have in recent years targeted very large organizations that handle card data. Target, Home Depot and many others have reported large data breaches over the years. Some payment processors were also hit.

Nemesis is a so-called bootkit. It is installed on lower-level operating system components, and even if the operating system is reinstalled, it can remain in place.

"Malware with bootkit functionality can be installed and executed almost completely independent of the Windows operating system," FireEye wrote.

Earlier this year, the cybercriminals started using an utility called Bootrash that modifies a Windows computer's Volume Boot Records (VBR), which are bits of code used in conjunction with the Master Boot Record (MBR).

The MBR is the first sector of a PC’s hard drive that the computer looks to before loading the operating system.

Bootrash executes before the OS is loaded, so it avoids any integrity checks done by the OS, FireEye wrote. Since Bootrash's components are stored outside the Windows file system, they're also not scanned by antivirus products.

Those responding to security incidents involving a bootkit "will need tools that can access and search raw disk forensic images for evidence of bootkits," FireEye wrote.

The security firm said it found the bootkit by using a tool from its Mandiant forensics division called Mandiant Intelligent Response (MIR). The tool allows for raw disk access in order to look for persistent malware outside of the OS.

But even if an infection is detected, "re-installing the operating system after a compromise is no longer sufficient."

"System administrators should perform a complete physical wipe of any systems compromised with a bootkit and then reload the operating system," it wrote.

Join the newsletter!

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

Tags securitymalwareFireEyeTargetHome DepotbootkitBootrash

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

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?