When retail company Target was targeted by cybercriminals in December of last year through point of sale service attacks, there was growing anxiety over the security layer being put on customer data of other retail stores.
But a recent revelation of how a software tool used to search for payment card data stored in POS has been leaked to the hacking community might just aggravate the worries of netizens.
Pirated copies of the Card Recon has been stolen by cyber criminals. Ground Labs developed the software tool to help auditors conduct review of networks for information about sales payments from customers and consumers. That will help companies fulfill the requirements mandated by the Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard for protecting payment card data.
Stolen versions of Card Recon have been incorporated as an essential component of malware programs designed to target POS terminals such as cash registers and ATMs, showing the dichotomy of its purpose, namely for auditing and for cyber crime if used by attackers.
For its intended use, the Card Recon is designed to locate card details in the almost untapped corners of an organization’s network and consolidate the resulting information into a report for enterprises to secure the data.
It is also built to strictly enforce a genuine copy of the software to be the only version that will be permitted to function. So a pirated copy is out of question whether it could be possibly used also. However, that strict requirement ends when a genuine user starts getting his or her hands on the tool, which means restrictions to that copy that he or she has purchased with a license fee are lifted and attackers can have the chance to manipulate the software for their own malicious purposes.
Well, that is already the norm in today’s technology landscape, that when someone purchases a legit copy of a certain software product, hackers are quick to gain access to that copy using illegal methods and tweak the product in order to disable the license restrictions of the software.
How does Card Recon work in POS terminals? It scans 16-digit numbers and isolate those figures from the credit card numbers. There is a malware called Huq, which experts spotted in the wild that cyber criminals are using to detect cards according to their labels – Discover, Visa and MasterCard.
The only best possible option to stop the Card Recon manipulation is to delete personally identifiable and sensitive information from POS terminals.