Security Experts:

Cybercriminals Use RawPOS Malware to Target Hotels, Casinos

An old point-of-sale (PoS) malware has been used by cybercriminals to target the customers of resorts, hotels, and casinos in North America and other parts of the world, Trend Micro has warned.

The threat, known as RawPOS, has been around since 2008 and is considered one of the earliest pieces of malware designed for credit and debit card data theft. Last month, Visa issued a security alert to warn lodging merchants that malicious actors had been infecting global organizations with RawPOS at an alarming rate. One of the more recent incidents involving this piece of malware was the C&K Systems breach, which affected Goodwill Industries International.

According to a detailed report released on Wednesday by Trend Micro, the latest victims of RawPOS are casinos, resorts and luxury hotels in the United States and Canada. Some victims have also been spotted by the security firm in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.

RawPOS is a highly configurable, multi-stage memory scraper that has evolved over the past years. Its modular design has enabled attackers to adapt the threat to the targeted environment.

The malware has three main components: a service that installs a backdoor in order to maintain persistence on the infected device, a memory dumper which dumps the memory of specific processes, and the scraper component which scrapes payment card data from the files dumped by the memory dumper. In older versions of the threat, the persistence service called the memory dumper directly, but the versions spotted in 2014 and 2015 are designed so that the file data scraper calls the memory dumper, researchers noted.

Because different organizations might use different PoS software, RawPOS is designed to support multiple PoS applications. The samples identified by Trend Micro in 2014 and 2015 were capable of targeting software such as Siriusware, InfoGenesis, Micros, Oracle Application Server, Radiant CounterPoint, Retail Pro, and Shift 4.

“We also saw that attackers may have used the generic memory dumper to enhance the process-specific dumper as they encounter it, dropping or adding of specific processes as they learn about newer environments. This prevented repeat work of guessing which process within the PoS software suite to dump that may have the credit card information,” Trend Micro said in its report on RawPOS.

The security firm warns that it’s not easy for organizations to protect their systems against RawPOS because the malicious files used by the attackers might have been specifically generated for the targeted environment.

“The service names may have changed, as well as any file name reference and timed execution events for the memory dumper and file data scraper. Also, the attackers use standard administrative tools (like psexec.exe, far.exe, radminshare.exe, rstopservice.exe, etc.) for lateral movement and data collection,” Trend Micro noted.

Last month, the security company published a paper on the strategies and technologies that can be used to defend an organization against PoS RAM scrapers.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.