Security Experts Tie Target, Home Depot Attacks to Online Store Selling Stolen Credit Cards

October 7, 2014 @ 10:37 AM
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2 min read

One of the worst things victims of stolen credit cards must deal with is the image of the thief running around from store to store, racking up purchases. They probably never imagine their credit card information being put up for sale online like a book or piece of clothing.

According to a report from Bloomberg Newsweek, however, a website known as Rescator.cc has become “the Amazon of the black market,” posting stolen credit cards in batches that can be purchased in bulk by cybercriminals. Home Depot has confirmed that at least one cadre of numbers on the site are among those lost in the Home Depot data breach last month.

Cybercriminals can create forged versions of the stolen credit cards using data from the magnetic strip they purchase through Rescator via Bitcoin, Western Union or other forms of payment, according to an article on Quartz. Besides selling off information from Home Depot customers, Rescator is believed to have profited from information security attacks at Target and several other high-profile retailers.

The New York Times said that in some cases, these so-called “carding” sites are selling data from the stolen credit cards for $50 to $100 per card. However, because markets such as Rescator also include the city, state and ZIP code of the store from which each card was stolen, investigators are becoming better at tracing the fraudulent activity back to the original hack. In fact, according to The Seattle Times, there was an 88.4 percent overlap between the ZIP codes from Rescator’s stolen account numbers and Home Depot store locations.

In some respects, the relatively high visibility of these stolen credit card sites is making it easier for financial services firms to respond to major data breaches, an analysis on BankInfoSecurity concluded. Issuers can quickly cover any resulting losses, and consumers can be more watchful for any related fraud activity.

One of the most widely quoted authorities about the stolen credit cards and the marketplaces that provide them is Brian Krebs, whose KrebsOnSecurity blog provides detailed information about both Rescator and the malware behind some of the retail attacks. In a recent post, Krebs suggested that both Home Depot’s and Target’s data breaches involved BlackPOS, also known as Kaptoxa, which steals data from cards when they are swiped at point-of-sale systems.

Though nothing is certain, security experts believe Rescator is a leading member of a criminal forum called Lampeduza in the Ukraine, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. In addition to selling off the card data, the site may be instigating the attacks, as well. The more successful this firm becomes, however, the closer authorities may get to bringing down both the site and the criminal activity.

Shane Schick
Writer & Editor
Shane Schick is a contributor for SecurityIntelligence.