Two point-of-sale (PoS) malware variants have been put to use by a threat actor to steal information related to more than 167,000 credit cards from payment terminals.

According to Singapore-headquartered cybersecurity company Group-IB, the stolen data dumps could net the operators as much as $3.34 million by selling them on underground forums.

While a significant proportion of attacks aimed at gathering payment data rely on JavaScript sniffers (aka web skimmers) stealthily inserted on e-commerce websites, PoS malware continues to be an ongoing, if less popular, threat.

Just last month, Kaspersky detailed new tactics adopted by a Brazilian threat actor known as Prilex to steal money by means of fraudulent transactions.

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"Almost all PoS malware strains have a similar card dump extraction functionality, but different methods for maintaining persistence on infected devices, data exfiltration and processing," researchers Nikolay Shelekhov and Said Khamchiev said.

Treasure Hunter and its advanced successor MajikPOS are alike in that they are designed to brute-force their way into a PoS terminal, or alternatively purchase initial access from other parties known as initial access brokers, followed by extracting payment card information from the system's memory, and forwarding it to a remote server.

It's worth noting that MajikPOS first came to light in early 2017, mainly affecting businesses across the U.S. and Canada. Treasure Hunter (aka TREASUREHUNT), on the other hand, has been chronicled since 2014, with its source code suffering a leak in 2018.

Group-IB, which identified the command-and-control (C2) servers associated with the two PoS malware, said 77,428 and 90,024 unique payment records were compromised by MajikPOS and Treasure Hunter between February and September 2022.

Most of the stolen cards are said to have been issued by banks in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Peru, Panama, the U.K., Canada, France, Poland, Norway, and Costa Rica.

The identity of the criminal actors behind the scheme is unknown, and it's currently not clear if the pilfered data has already been sold for monetary gains by the group.

This can have severe consequences should the card-issuing banks not enforce adequate protection mechanisms, effectively enabling bad actors to employ cloned cards to illicitly withdraw funds and make unauthorized transactions.

"PoS malware has become less attractive for threat actors in recent years due to some of its limitations and the security measures implemented within the card payment industry," the researchers said.

"Nevertheless, [...] it remains a significant threat to the payment industry as a whole and to separate businesses that have not yet implemented the latest security practices. It is too early to write off PoS malware."


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