New attack campaign against SMBs uses a botnet to deliver PoS malware

A group of attackers uses the Gorynych botnet to deploy point-of-sale malware and steal payment card data

A group of sophisticated attackers are repurposing penetration testing tools to break into the networks of small and medium-size businesses worldwide with the goal of infecting point-of-sale systems with malware.

The new attack campaign started in September and has been dubbed operation Black Atlas by researchers from antivirus vendor Trend Micro. The attackers use a wide set of tools to scan the Internet and identify potential weak spots in the networks of various organizations, the researchers said.

Their toolset includes port scanners, brute-force password guessing tools, SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) scanners, remote desktop viewers and other attack applications that are easy to find on the Internet.

"Networks with weak password practices are likely to fall victim to this initial penetration testing stage," the Trend Micro researchers said in a blog post.

If the attackers manage to break in, they use additional malware and tools to move laterally across the network and compromise PoS systems. While doing this, they steal various credentials along the way, including email and Facebook passwords.

Once they have access to a PoS system, the attackers install a so-called memory scraping program. These are malware applications that scan the system's RAM for payment card details that are passed from the card reader to the retail software.

The Trend Micro researchers have seen the Black Atlas attackers using multiple PoS malware programs including Alina, NewPOSThings and BlackPOS. The latter was also used in the 2013 attack against Target that resulted in the compromise of around 40 million payment card details.

Because BlackPOS does not have an online data exfiltration method and instead saves the card details to a local text file, the Black Atlas attackers are combining it with a botnet-type backdoor program known as Gorynych or Diamond Fox.

"Gorynych now grabs that text file and does an HTTP POST to complete the data exfiltration," the Trend Micro researchers said. The same botnet is also used to deploy BlackPOS in the first place.

The attackers have compromised businesses around the world, including an unnamed healthcare organization in the U.S., which allowed Trend Micro to perform a deeper analysis. The most affected countries are the U.S., Australia, India, Taiwan, Germany and the U.K.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?