Security Experts:

New Variant of TinyPOS Discovered

While we wait to discover what and how the Trump Hotel Collection was breached, a new version of the TinyPOS point-of-sale (PoS) malware has been discovered by Foregenix

This malware functions as a typical memory scraper. It gathers input card data before the system can encrypt it, but is written in "'hand rolled' assembly language and comes in at only 5120 bytes."

"The malware contains an old school exclusion list that performs extremely rapid double word comparisons rather than the slower but far more common string comparisons to identify which process to ignore, and internally validates the identified account data through an implementation of the Luhn algorithm," states the alert. The Luhn algorithm uses the last four digits of a card number against the preceding numbers – it simply checks the number is a valid card number.

Data collected by the malware is sent directly to C&C servers in Eastern Europe, and communications are encoded using a dword XOR routine, to hide the card data format and evade detection by intrusion detection systems.

TinyPOS was discovered in Europe, Foregenix said, and the company issued it's first comment as a brief malware alert on April 1.

Headquartered in the UK, Foregenix commented, "we don’t often come across brand new POS malware, presumably as we are in a Chip & PIN market, so the “return” for attackers on deploying such technology is limited."

There is currently no indication of any successful breach via TinyPOS – it seems to have been discovered and contained by Foregenix before any harm could be done. However, it is possible that it is being tested in Europe before being deployed to geographic regions that don't employ chip and pin technology.

Meanwhile, Foregenix says it "is working with financial and law enforcement agencies to provide further information on TinyPOS, as well as rapid response services to businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors suspected of having been breached."

Contacted by SecurityWeek, a Foregenix spokesperson said that the company doesn't yet have any further information it can disclose.

Late last month, it was revealed that a group of cybercriminals was using a custom-build PoS malware family to steal payment card data, which it sells on underground forums.

More than a dozen new PoS malware families were discovered by researchers last year, including NitlovePoSPoSeidonMWZLessonMalumPOSCherry Picker and AbaddonPOS.

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Kevin Townsend is a Senior Contributor at SecurityWeek. He has been writing about high tech issues since before the birth of Microsoft. For the last 15 years he has specialized in information security; and has had many thousands of articles published in dozens of different magazines – from The Times and the Financial Times to current and long-gone computer magazines.