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24 September 2019

JavaScript-sniffers knock on Singapore’s door

Group-IB, a Singapore-based cybersecurity company that specializes in preventing cyberattacks, has discovered and analyzed compromised payment cards related to Singaporean banks that could be related to the activity of JavaScript-sniffers — a type of malware designed to steal customer payment data from online stores. Group-IB urges Singaporeans to follow simple cyber hygiene rules while shopping online to avoid significant financial losses.

During the analysis of underground cardshops, Group-IB Threat Hunting Intelligence team has detected one spike in the sale of compromised raw cards data (type of compromised card which has all the information required for online purchases, including CVV, card number and expiration date) issued by Singaporean banks. In April 2019, 4,166 cards related to Singapore were uploaded to cardshops, while the mean in January-August 2019 was at 2,379 cards per month. This spike was due to the fact that on April 1 alone, a database named «31.03-SG_MIX_SNIFF» was uploaded to an underground cardshop, which contained 1,726 compromised cards issued by the Singaporean banks.

The cards could have likely been compromised as a result of Java Script-sniffers’ activity on online stores frequented by Singaporeans, and the name of the database supports this assumption. A JS‑sniffer is the online equivalent of a traditional credit card skimmer — a small device installed on ATMs that intercepts payment card details. Usually, a few lines of code injected into websites can capture data entered by customers, such as payment card numbers, names, addresses, passwords, etc. A multi-linked chain of victims of JS-sniffers includes online shoppers, online stores, payment systems, banks. Quite often neither a customer nor a website owner can detect the activity of JS-sniffers. JS-sniffers are capable of infecting websites which use different types of CMS (Content Management System) and are hard to be detected with the use of traditional signature-based detection methods, which makes them even more dangerous.

Even though it is the responsibility of online merchants to ensure customer data safety, many high profile data breaches due to the activity of JS-sniffers, such as British Airways and FILA UK data compromise, suggest that very few eCommerce merchants are aware of this cyber threat and taking steps to prevent the infection by JS-sniffers. Therefore, in order to minimize losses, in case an online store is infected with a JS-sniffer, we advise online shoppers in Singapore not to keep all eggs in one basket and have a separate pre-paid card for online payments or even a separate bank account exclusively for online purchases. The admins of eCommerce websites, in their turn, need to keep their software updated, carry out regular cybersecurity assessments of their websites and not hesitate to seek assistance from specialists. It should be noted, that the statistics that we observed could be higher if not for the vigilant cybersecurity authorities which have been prompt in detecting websites infected with JS-sniffers.

Ilya Sachkov

Ilya Sachkov

CEO and founder at Group-IB

Group-IB, has recently issued a comprehensive report «Crime without punishment» on the analysis of JavaScript-sniffers. Globally, a total of 2,440 infected eCommerce websites with around 1.5 million unique daily visitors, whose data could have been compromised, were analyzed by Group-IB threat researchers. The report features an in-depth analysis of JS‑sniffers’ darknet market, their entire infrastructure and the monetization methods, which generate millions of illicit dollars revenue for the cybercriminals behind them. Group-IB’s report contains detailed recommendations for all parties that may fall victim to JS‑sniffers: online shoppers, banks, payment systems, and eCommerce websites. The research on JS-sniffers continues. Descriptions of analyzed JS‑sniffers and new information about them are regularly uploaded to Group-IB’s Threat Hunting Intelligence system.

In the first eight months of 2019, Group-IB experts have detected 26,102 compromised payment cards issued by Singaporean banks put up for sale on dark web cardshops. The total underground market value of compromised cards detected in January-August 2019 is estimated at nearly USD 1.8 million. Among them, 19,037 were identified as raw cards data. While only 7,065 cards turned out to be «dumps» — unauthorized digital copies containing the card’s magnetic details, which can be clone to physical cards.

Notwithstanding, Singapore offers a higher level of protection compared to most countries in the Asia-Pacific region. A total of 766,055 compromised payment cards were put up for sale in January-August of this year in the rest of APAC, according to Group-IB’s data. Singaporean monetary authorities have put in place a number of security measures such as the mandatory one-time-password for card-not-present transactions and the exclusive use of EMV chip cards.

Group-IB is one of the leading providers of solutions aimed at detection and prevention of cyberattacks, online fraud, and IP protection. Group-IB Threat Intelligence system was named one of the best in class by Gartner, Forrester, and IDC.

Group-IB’s technological leadership is built on company’s 16 years of experience in cybercrime investigations all over the world and 55 000 hours of incident response accumulated in the largest forensic laboratory in Eastern Europe and a 24/7 CERT-GIB.

Group-IB is a partner of INTERPOL, Europol, and a cybersecurity solutions provider, recommended by SWIFT and OSCE. Group-IB is a member of the World Economic Forum.

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