Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Beware of a New Threat Called Backoff Malware

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Image via PCWorld

PCWorld Report said, The data breach caused by “Backoff” is now reckoned as one of the largest in recent memory, resulting in tens of millions of credit and debit cards being captured. It is believed responsible for the recent data breaches at Target, SuperValu supermarkets and UPS stores. In the case of SuperValu, at least 180 of its stores had been hit by a data breach and earlier this week UPS said 51 of its UPS Store locations had been hit.

According to PCWorld (US warns 'significant number' of major businesses hit by Backoff malware), It took a stern cyber-security alert from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to raise public awareness of yet another computer virus that specifically targets small and medium businesses. The DHS actually first warned of this malware called “Backoff” in July 2013 but few took the warning seriously. Now, the DHS reports that over 1,000 small and medium businesses and major enterprise networks have been compromised.

The DHS said that the Backoff malware “is capable of scraping the memory contents of point of sales systems for data swiped by stores from credit cards, from monitoring the keyboard and logging strokes and from communicating with a remote server.”  Point of sales systems refer to the use of cash registers and other terminals at checkout counters of stores.

As for the mode of attack, hackers usually gain access to machines through brute-force attacks on remote log-in systems provided by companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google and other third-party vendors. Once inside, they are able to copy the malware to the machine and set it to capturing credit card data.

The good news is that most antivirus packages can now detect Backoff.  So if you’re a network operator, you would do well to download and install antivirus software and update your computer regularly. These can help permanently remove unwanted software and prevent it from being installed in the first place.

Apart from updating your software, it is also helpful to use a firewall and adjust your Internet Explorer security settings from time to time.  Using a firewall is like locking the front door to your house to keep intruders (or hackers).  As for Windows firewall, this is included in Windows and is turned on by default.  On security settings, do this in your Internet Explorer web browser to specify how much or how little information you want to accept from a website.

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