Debit and credit card owners in the country have been alerted by cyber security sleuths against the damaging activities of a virus which attacks Point of Sale (POS) business counters to steal confidential data like card number and passwords.
The virus, of the deadly Trojan/Botnet family, is prowling in the domestic online media and has been identified as 'BrutPOS' by the CERT-In.
CERT-In is the nodal national agency to combat hacking, phishing and to fortify security-related defences of the Indian Internet domain.
"It has been reported that malware variants targeting Point of sale (POS) systems, dubbed "BrutPOS", is spreading. BrutPOS mainly targets windows based system by leveraging web as the main infection vector apart from being downloaded by other malware families," the latest advisory by the agency said.
The advisory added that once the system is infected with the malware, it communicates with its command and control servers to update its status and receive commands or list of IP address range to be scan for RDP servers having weak or default credentials.
Successful RDP brute force attack allows an attacker to execute another malware in the compromised system that steals payment cards data including card holders name, account no, expiration data, CVV code etc from POS systems.
The virus also has tendencies to steal system information such as Operating System details, system configuration etc, the advisory said.
Once the secret data of a credit or debit card is stolen, it can be prone to a hacking or phishing attempts on the virtual currency, thereby incurring financial loss for the account holder.
The POS denotes the cash counter of a shop or a business establishment where a customer or an individual makes online payment (from debit or credit card) after a purchase.
According to existing RBI rules, while debit card owners are required to punch in their secret PIN number before making a payment at these counters, a credit card owner can simply swipe his plastic money to accomplish his transaction at the POS counter.
The agency has also recommended some counter measures to check the activities of this new virus.
Some of them include keeping all POS systems thoroughly updated including POS application software, not allowing administrative access to systems, locking out accounts after N number of incorrect login attempts, limiting or eliminating the use of shared or group accounts and ensuring that the networks where POS systems reside are properly segmented from the non-payment network.
The agency has also recommended enabling firewall at gateway or desktop level, not visiting untrusted websites, not downloading or opening of attachments in emails received from untrusted sources or unexpectedly received from trusted users and installing and scanning anti-malware engines and keep them up-to-date.