A kind of malware is attacking point-of-sale systems rather than personal computers or devices.  It has hit retailers, hotel chains, restaurants, and other businesses.


Named “Dexter” by those who discovered the malware, the attacks have been discovered in 40 countries.  While this is not the first time that attacks have focused on POS systems, they are usually began by physical attacks where people find ways to steal credit card information on-site.

For instance, a person could physically find a way to attach a bug to an in-store device to allow it to capture debit and credit card numbers that they will then have access to.  A similar issue happened to Barnes & Noble when over 60 stores were hit.

Malware Attacks Point-of-Sale Systems

The people behind Dexter cause it to search a list in the operating system for specific data.  It is likely that the infections were caused by internet downloads.  Unlike many hackers using malware, this group seems to be English-speaking with fluent language skills, unlike many of the typical cybercrime groups.  The tools used are in English, too.

The majority of businesses hit with Dexter come from North America at 42 percent, while the UK had 19 percent.  Dexter can do much more damage than typical hackers who must get physical access.  With remote access, the malware can garner more information and go undetected.

How to Protect Yourself

While you cannot always protect yourself from situations like these, make sure you only give your private information to companies you know to reduce the risk.  Keep a close eye on your account that is linked to your debit or credit card after using it for a transaction to notice if anything unusual is going on with it.

You should always be aware of anything that happens in your name even if it is not linked with your account.  Depending on the kind of information that is generated from these cybercriminals, you could find out that your credit is ruined by someone who is operating in your name.  Make sure you know what is going on with any credit attached to you and report anything suspicious to the business associated with the account.

[Image via sfexaminer]