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‘Dexter’ malware spreads as cyber-criminals target Christmas shoppers

As our Christmas cash splurge hits full swing entering the holiday season, cyber-criminals are capitalising on increased credit card use to find new ways into our funds.

Israeli security firm Seculert has identified a “growing trend” of hackers targeting Point of Sale (POS) systems, with the so-called Dexter malware at the heart of many recent attacks.

The Christmas period has traditionally seen cyber-criminals target consumer PCs with information stealing Trojans, Seculert says, but instead of taking the trouble to infect thousands of PCs, attackers are increasingly targeting just a few POS systems with specially crafted malware - like Dexter.

Seculert reports that Dexter has been used to infect hundreds of POS systems over the past two to three months, including retailers, hotels, restaurants and even private parking providers. Once it has infected the machine, Dexter steals the process list and looks for credit card data which can then be used by the cyber-criminals to make clones of the cards used on that POS system.

How the POS systems are targeted in the first place is yet to be uncovered by Seculert, but the firm claims Dexter has spread to 40 different countries worldwide. 42 per cent of these are located in North America, but the UK homes a sizeable 19 per cent of the infected machines.

For more on Dexter and the threat it poses consumers this Christmas, check out our analysis of the malware.

Image: Flickr