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 PC World newsletter!

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

Tags TargetsecurityFireEyeHome DepotmalwarebootkitBootrash

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?