A new kind of point-of-sale malware similar to that which struck Target is being sold in underground markets for US$2,000.
The malware, LusyPOS, was found on VirusTotal, a website where people can submit malware samples to see if one of several dozen security applications detects it.
It had also been advertised on an underground carding website, where people buy and sell stolen payment card data, said Brian Minick, vice president of the advanced security business of CBTS, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based security company. “It’s the first we’ve seen of it,” Minick said. “It looks pretty new.” Retailers across the U.S. have been hit hard by malware that scans the volatile memory of computers connected to point-of-sale systems, which handle card payments. Home Depot said it lost 56 million card details to this type of attack over a six-month period earlier this year, one of the largest data breaches on record.
Nick Hoffman, a reverse engineer with CBTS, wrote in a blog post that LusyPOS shares some of the same characteristics as two other well-known POS malware programs, Dexter and Chewbacca. In a January report, the security company RSA said Chewbacca was a simple of piece of malware but one that had infected the systems of at least 35 retailers. Minick said it’s not uncommon for malware writers to borrow code from other programs to make a new malicious application for profit.
LusyPOS appears to share some of the same source code as Dexter and other characteristics of Chewbacca, Minick said. For example, LusyPOS uses Tor for communication, which encrypts content. Tor, short for The Onion Router, is a software package that is designed to make people’s Web traffic more anonymous by encrypting and routing it through a network of worldwide servers.
As of recently, LusyPOS was only detected by seven applications, Minick said. Two of those applications flagged LusyPOS for its use of a Tor package. Tor is a legitimate tool for protecting one’s privacy on the Web, but it can easily be incorporated into tools that are malicious.