Massive Malware Attack On South African Fast Food Chains Traced To Europe


Crooks who made off with millions might be European

A major malware campaign targeting point of sale systems in South Africa, costing banks tens of millions of rand, has reportedly been traced back to Europe.

Dexter malware, which scoops up banking details from point of sale machines, was said to have hit fast food chains particularly hard.

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The South African Police Service (SAPS), Interpol and Europol are all now involved in the investigation, as the attacks have been linked to Europe, according to Bloomberg.

Payments Association of South Africa CEO Walter Volker told Tech Central most major banking bodies in the country were affected, as well as Visa and Mastercard.

Certain versions of the malware are detected by anti-virus systems, but the attackers used a variant of Dexter to avoid detection, according to Volker, who stressed bankers should not panic.

“We’re still looking at some sites that are questionable, but they are a very small minority. I don’t think there’s any need for panic or concern at this stage and certainly no one will be out of pocket [as the banks will honour losses],” he said.

The European Cyber Crime Centre, part of Europol, had not responded to TechWeekEurope questions at the time of publication.

Warnings went out last year about the potential carnage Dexter could cause. It was said to have been used in hundreds of attacks in the second half of 2012 across 40 different countries.

TechWeekEurope understands point of sale malware has been growing in popularity on the underground forums where hackers trade data and malicious software. This kind of infection allows attackers to go after just a handful of systems, rather than millions of PCs, to siphon off rafts of financial data.

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