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.
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.
Old-Fashioned Methods Still in Use
Scammers and identity thieves aren’t just using Web attacks to steal personal information and credit card data, however. The old-fashioned physical methods are still alive and well.
Law enforcement authorities in New York arrested more than 100 people accused of participating in an identity theft scam that generated $13 million, according to an Oct. 7 statement from the District Attorney for Queens. The arrested individuals are accused of stealing financial information from consumers in the United States and Europe over a 16-month period. The data was used to forge credit cards, which were then used to buy designer handbags, game consoles and jewelry. The luxury items were fenced online and turned back into cash for scammers.
The scammers relied on insiders within financial and retail businesses, including bank tellers, store employees and restaurant workers, to steal information, according to the statement.
Operation Swiper dates back to October 2009 and involved physical surveillance and electronic wiretapping of at least five ringleaders, who are accused of taking the stolen identity information and working with an underground credit card manufacturer to produce forgeries.
Once stolen, criminals can use the credit card information to make fraudulent purchases or just resell the data to other criminals on underground forums, according to Imperva. Complete credit card information with names, addresses, email addresses, expiration dates and dates of birth are available for sale. An American Visa card is available for as little as $2, according to Imperva.