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Card skimming malware infecting thousands of online retailers

Card skimming malware infecting thousands of online retailers
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If you think hardware credit card skimmers in brick-and-mortar payment terminals are bad enough, wait till you hear this. Physical card skimming's cyberspace equivalent has come of age and has been reportedly running rampant for months, quietly siphoning millions of online customers' credit card information and handing it over to cybercriminals.

Around 6,000 online shops were found to be infected with malicious Javascript software code that can intercept and pilfer credit and debit card details, according to Dutch researcher Willem de Groot, and the problem is getting worse.

In a recent blog post, de Groot detailed how hackers are exploiting vulnerabilities in popular retailing software found in most of the compromised merchants' online stores.

They attack unpatched software flaws and once the criminals gain access to the store's source code, they install a Javascript wiretap that relays payment data to collection servers evidently located in Russia. In other instances, hackers simply exploit weak passwords and brute-force their way into the website's administration page.

De Groot said he has been investigating the problem since November of last year when his own payment card information was stolen online. He then scanned a sample of 255,000 online stores and found 3,501 were already infected with skimming malware.

Now, almost a year later, he said the incidents have gone up by 69 percent with 5,925 online merchant shops now infected with the malicious JavaScript code, some of them unwitting hosts for almost 18 months.

Next page: Which websites were compromised?
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