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 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 malwareFireEyeTargetHome DepotbootkitBootrash

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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?