Security researchers discovered a strain of point-of-sale (POS) malware dubbed GlitchPOS that comes with resources designed to make it relatively easy to launch a botnet that skims credit card data.

As Cisco Talos reported, GlitchPOS is being actively sold on a crimeware forum in a bundle that includes the malware for $250, a builder for $60 and gate address changes for $80. Would-be cybercriminals can spread the POS malware via malicious emails that include a fake video game featuring cute images of cats.

The Democratization of POS Malware

The report noted that the developer behind GlitchPOS — who the researchers said is likely a threat actor known as edbitss — created a video to demonstrate the POS malware’s ease of use. Though the payload is described as small and limited in functionality, it acts as a “memory grabber,” taking credit card numbers from the systems it infects and receiving tasks from a command-and-control (C&C) server, among other things.

Given the slow adoption of chip-and-PIN technology in the U.S., researchers suggested GlitchPOS might be more likely to target American credit card users. The bogus video game, meanwhile, is based on a packer built within VisualBasic that protects the POS malware from being easily identified.

Besides GlitchPOS, the researchers believe edbitss is responsible for similar threats such as the DiamondFox Link botnet, with which it shares similarities. Less than a month after it was first marketed online, however, researchers spotted an actor known as Chameleon101 who appeared to replicate GlitchPOS and attempted to sell it on another forum at higher prices.

How to Limit the Damage of POS Malware

GlitchPOS is the latest indication that the barrier to entry for stealing credit numbers is falling. For organizations in retail, hospitality and other industries in which the customer base may be at risk, the fallout can range from lost business to reputational damage, fines and more.

IBM experts recommend implementing managed incident response resources so that damage can be quickly contained in the event of a successful credit card skimming attack.

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