Cyber-Attacks Seen Defrauding Brazilian Payment System of Billions
Cyber-criminals have abused the Boleto Bancário online payment system to steal potentially billions of dollars, according to security firm RSA.Cyber-criminals have infected nearly 200,000 computers in Brazil and used their access to issue payment vouchers with an estimated value of $3.75 billion, according to an analysis of the attack published by security firm RSA on July 1. Dubbed the "Bolware" gang, the criminals abused the Brazilian payment system known as Boleto Bancário, which allows customers to promise to pay an online merchant, print out a payment slip with a barcode and remit money at a bank. While previous attempts to defraud the payment system used fake boleto, the latest attack, which started in late 2012, infects Web browsers on compromised computers and modified legitimate boleto to route payment to the criminal accounts. "The Boleto Malware (is) a newer and more sophisticated kind of fraud in Brazil that leverages MITB (man-in-the-browser) technology to attack online operations, and is based on transaction modification on the client side," RSA stated in its analysis. "Like any substantial cyber-criminal operation, the Bolware gang has continued to innovate, revising their purpose-built malware through 19 different versions." While the details of the fraud differ from payment fraud in other nations, the techniques—such as using a man-in-the-browser attacks—are similar to how criminals are attempting to steal money from financial institutions in the U.S. and Europe. Criminals adopted man-in-the-browser attacks to defeat additional countermeasures—such as IP address and device identification—deployed by financial institutions.
"It is a class of problem where the arms race has migrated," said Dan Kaminsky, co-founder and chief scientist of White Ops, an anti-fraud technology firm. "Once upon a time, it was good enough to steal a customer's username and password and log into the bank from wherever and do whatever you wanted, but they soon figured out that a California customer should not be logging in from Latvia."