'Backoff' Malware: Time To Step Up Remote Access Security

Another day, another security breach. Today, it’s a number of breaches that may or may not tie together, but all seem to have one thing in common: poor remote access security.

Most notably, the US Department of Homeland Security has issued an advisory regarding the "Backoff" point-of-sale malware, which has been associated with several PoS data breach investigations. The advisory states:

Recent investigations revealed that malicious actors are using publicly available tools to locate businesses that use remote desktop applications. Remote desktop solutions like Microsoft's Remote Desktop, Apple Remote Desktop, Chrome Remote Desktop, Splashtop 2, Pulseway, and LogMEIn Join.Me offer the convenience and efficiency of connecting to a computer from a remote location. Once these applications are located, the suspects attempted to brute force the login feature of the remote desktop solution. After gaining access to what was often administrator or privileged access accounts, the suspects were then able to deploy the point-of-sale (PoS) malware and subsequently exfiltrate consumer payment data via an encrypted POST request...

Similar attacks have been noted in previous PoS malware campaigns and some studies state that targeting the Remote Desktop Protocol with brute force attacks is on the rise.


Apart from this advisory, the Delaware Restaurant Association notified its 1,900 member restaurants about a possible breach of consumer payment card data, which the association says “appears to be linked to LogMeIn, a remote access and systems management provider that facilitates, among other things, file sharing and data backup.” And Krebs on Security is reporting that the Jimmy John’s sandwich chain is investigating breach claims.  Read more.