Cyber-Criminals Targeting Retailers With 'Nice Pack' Exploit Kit, SQL Injection

Criminals have increased their attacks on retailer Websites using exploit kits to download data-stealing Trojans on victims' computers. The latest one, "Nice Pack," is not nice at all.

Retailers are seeing an uptick in Web attacks driven mainly by malware exploit toolkits as cyber-criminals attempt to steal credit card information, according to Dell SecureWorks.

Hacking attacks against retail customers were up 43 percent from January to September, Dell SecureWorks said Oct. 10. The Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit stopped 91,500 attackers per retail customer in the first nine months of 2011, compared with 63,581 from April through December 2010.

The increase was driven primarily by the popularity of Web exploit kits, according to Jon Ramsey, Dell SecureWorks' CTO. A new kit, Nice Pack, has already compromised over 10,000 Websites, according to the report. When unsuspecting users come to the site, they are silently redirected to a different site that is hosting the exploit kit, which tries to download malware onto the user's computer.

"Criminals are more aggressively using the Web as a primary attack vector for both clients and servers," Ramsey said.

Nice Pack uses a similar attack sequence as the more well-known Black Hold exploit kit. Attackers use various techniques to compromise Web pages and embed malicious JavaScript on the site. The malicious code is apparently identical to the code that was used in the recent compromise of, which directed users to a site hosting the Black Hole toolkit.

At this point, Nice Pack attempts to install the ZeroAccess Trojan, which is designed to remain hidden on the infected machine as it gathers confidential information and ships it off to a remote server. ZeroAccess has some rootkit-like capabilities that allow it to remain on the system despite attempts to remove it.

There has also been a jump in the number of SQL injection attacks against retailers, according to Dell SecureWorks researchers. These attacks involve the malicious perpetrator inserting database commands in a textbox or a form on the Website and tricking the system into executing the commands when submitted.

Just this past spring, Rogelio Hackett Jr. pleaded guilty to using SQL injection attacks to steal account information on 675,000 credit cards and racking up over $36 million in fraudulent transactions.

Organizations need to make sure they are keeping up with the latest patches for all servers, desktops and software as many of the exploit packs take advantage of older vulnerabilities that have not been closed.