Saturday November 28th, 2015 9:58AM

Gov't warns US retailers about hacking software

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- More than 1,000 U.S. retailers could be infected with malicious software lurking in their cash register computers, allowing hackers to steal customer financial data, according to the Homeland Security Department.<br /> <br /> The government urged businesses of all sizes to scan their point-of-sale systems for software known as "Backoff," discovered last October. It previously explained in detail how the software operates and how retailers could find and remove it.<br /> <br /> Earlier this month, United Parcel Service said it found infected computers in 51 stores. UPS said it was not aware of any fraud that resulted from the infection but said hackers may have taken customers' names, addresses, email addresses and payment card information.<br /> <br /> The company apologized to customers and offered free identity protection and credit monitoring services to those who had shopped in those 51 stores.<br /> <br /> Backoff was discovered in October, but according to the Homeland Security Department the software wasn't flagged by antivirus programs until this month.<br /> <br /> Jerome Segura, a senior security researcher at cybersecurity software firm Malware Bytes, said that the way that Backoff works is not unique. The program gains access to companies' computers by finding insufficiently protected remote access points and duping computer users to download malware, tricks that have long been in use and are often automated.<br /> <br /> What has changed, Segura said, is that the hackers deploying it have become increasingly sophisticated about identifying high-value computer systems after they've broken into them.<br /> <br /> "Once the bad guys realized they were able to penetrate larger networks, they saw the opportunity to develop malware that's specifically for credit cards and can evade antivirus programs," he said.<br /> <br /> By using Backoff selectively, rather than distributing it widely on the Internet, the hackers likely managed to escape detection for longer. Following Homeland Security's warnings in July, however, companies are much better able to probe their own computers for Backoff.<br /> <br /> The battle between retailers and hackers is an ongoing one. Retail giant Target, based in Minneapolis, was targeted by hackers last year and disclosed in December that a data breach compromised 40 million credit and debit card accounts between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. On Jan. 10, it said hackers stole personal information - including names, phone numbers and email and mailing addresses - from as many as 70 million customers.<br /> <br /> Target, the third-largest retailer, has been overhauling its security department and systems in the wake of the pre-Christmas data breach, which hurt profits, sales and its reputation among shoppers worried about the security of their personal data. Target is now accelerating its $100 million plan to roll out chip-based credit card technology in all of its nearly 1,800 stores.<br /> <br /> So-called chip and pin technology would allow for more secure transactions than the magnetic strip cards that most Americans use now. The technology has already been adopted in Europe and elsewhere.<br /> <br /> Though improving card technology and updating malware detection will help retailers defend themselves, Segura said that the recent profusion of computer breaches should make companies think harder about how they use remote access systems for employees and vendors. By limiting what portions of their systems can be accessed remotely, he said, companies can limit the damage that hackers can do.<br /> <br /> "This past year and a half has been breach after breach," he said. "It's incredible."
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 10 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 10 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 10 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 10 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 10 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 10 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 10 months ago )
Local/State News
Standoff at Planned Parenthood ends with suspect's arrest; 3 killed, 9 wounded
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A gunman who opened fire inside a Planned Parenthood clinic was arrested Friday after engaging in gun battles with authorities during an hourslong standoff that killed t...
1:13AM ( 8 hours ago )
White House undergoes Thanksgiving Day lockdown after man draped in American flag jumps fence
WASHINGTON (AP) — A man draped in an American flag climbed over the fence at the White House on Thursday, prompting a lockdown as the first family celebrated Thanksgiving.The man was immediately appre...
10:11PM ( 1 day ago )
Obama grants reprieve to turkeys 'Honest' and 'Abe' during White House ceremony
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama spared two turkeys named for one of the nation's most admired presidents, continuing a White House tradition that provides a refreshing sense of amusement and...
9:18PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: UN Security Council strongly condemns 'horrifying' attack in Mali, urges probe
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The latest on the attack on a hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako. (All times local):___4:55 a.m.The U.N. Security Council is condemning "the horrifying terrorist attack" at the...
10:58PM ( 1 week ago )
World leaders vow vigorous response to Paris terror spree, but little indication of next steps
ANTALYA, Turkey (AP) — World leaders vowed a vigorous response to the Islamic State group's terror spree in Paris as they opened a two-day meeting in Turkey on Sunday, with President Barack Obama call...
2:14PM ( 1 week ago )