Security Experts:

Researchers Spot 64-Bit Version of NewPosThings Trojan

Researchers at Trend Micro have identified a 64-bit version of NewPosThings, a point-of-sale (PoS) malware designed to steal payment card and other sensitive information from infected systems.

NewPosThings was first analyzed by Arbor Networks in September 2014. Researchers noted at the time that the Trojan had been in development since at least October 2013.

According to Trend Micro, several new variants have been released over the past months, including ones designed to target 64-bit systems.

The malware, detected as TSPY_POSNEWT.SM, installs itself on a device using names such as javaj.exe, ism.exe, svchost.exe, dwm.exe and isasss.exe. The name is selected based on an algorithm that uses the infected machine’s name and volume serial number. For persistence, the threat creates a registry entry with the name “Java Update Manager,” the security firm said in a blog post.

Once installed, NewPosThings starts collecting passwords for virtual network computing (VNC) software such as UltraVNC, RealVNC, WinVNC, and TightVNC. Then, the Trojan disables the operating system’s security warnings for certain file extensions, including .exe,.bat,.reg and .vbs.

“Disabling the Open File Security Warning of Microsoft Windows reduces the overall security posture of the Microsoft Windows host operating system. This is because the system no longer prompts the user for validation when opening up files that could have been downloaded from malicious sources,” Trend Micro threats analyst Jay Yaneza explained.

The malware harvests credit and debit card data through a process known as memory scraping. The Trojan checks running processes to see if any of them are associated with financial software. Once a targeted process is identified, the malware looks for strings that could represent card numbers and uses the Luhn algorithm to validate the data.

Researchers believe this approach is not very efficient because it can consume a lot of system resources if a large number of processes are running on the infected device.

In addition to scraping memory for payment card data, NewPosThings also harvests user input. This is done with the aid of a hidden window created in the background.

The malware checks if data is available for transfer to the command and control (C&C) server every 10 minutes. The collected data is sent to the server via HTTP.

NewPosThings 3.0 is the latest version of the Trojan. Compared to previous versions, it uses a custom packer and it includes some new anti-debugging mechanisms.

Trend Micro says version 2.x of the malware has been repackaged with other pieces of malware, such as the backdoor detected by the security firm as BKDR_BEZIGATE.AI.

While analyzing the C&C servers used by the PoS Trojan, experts identified IP addresses associated with two airports in the United States. Trend Micro warned that travelers will be increasingly targeted and that airports are a target-rich environment.

Researchers continue to identify threats targeting PoS systems. In March, Trend Micro spotted PwnPOS, a piece of malware that managed to stay hidden since at least 2013. Cisco recently revealed the existence of PoSeidon, a PoS malware that is said to be more sophisticated than previously seen threats.

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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.