Hackers accessed Goodwill hosting provider for 18 months before card breach

C&K Systems, which provided payment technology to Goodwill, said two other unnamed businesses were also affected

Hackers evaded security systems for a year-and-a-half at a hosting center that processed payment cards for Goodwill Industries, using the same type of malware that struck Target and other major retailers to steal card data, according to the charity's software vendor.

In its first public statement since being identified by Goodwill as its technology partner, C&K Systems of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, said two other customers were also affected by the unauthorized access, though it didn't name them.

Goodwill, which sells donated clothing, said in July that federal authorities were investigating a possible payment card breach at its U.S. outlets. It's one of many retailers, including Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels, P.F. Chang's China Bistro and Sally Beauty, that have disclosed data breaches since December.

In a rare move, Goodwill identified C&K as one of the contractors that provided payment processing for 20 of its stores, and said those stores had since stopped using the company's services.

C&K couldn't be immediately reached by phone Tuesday. According to its statement, the company's managed services environment was breached "intermittently" between Feb. 10, 2013, and Aug. 14 of this year. Of the "many" payment cards that may have been compromised, it said, it knows of "less than 25" so far that have been used fraudulently.

The hosted systems were running software from "a leading POS [point-of-sale] vendor" that C&K said met the Payment Card Industry's Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS). Retailers are required to meet those standards or face greater penalties from card companies if a breach occurs.

An independent auditor determined that the card data was stolen using a malicious software program, RawPOS, which scrapes data from a point-of-sale terminal's memory. A similar type of malware, known as a RAM scraper, was blamed for the Target breach and others.

C&K said its security software had been unable to detect the RawPOS variant until Sept. 5. C&K has since put in place new security controls that will detect unauthorized access, it said, "along with cutting-edge technologies to identify potential zero-day advanced persistent threats."

Its unidentified POS vendor is also shoring up its systems, by rolling out a point-to-point encryption system, C&K said. Security experts have said that technology can defeat RAM scrapers since only encrypted data is held in RAM.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags malwareGoodwill IndustriesC&K Systems

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

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?