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New Cyberattack Targets 1,000 Major Networks – and Probably More

New Cyberattack Targets 1,000 Major Networks – and Probably More

How to Detect “Backoff” Malware & Defend Against Future Attacks

August 27, 2014

Just several months after the last major cyberattack (which left systems and devices vulnerable to the Heartbleed virus), large business networks are coming under fire from more malicious malware.

In a cybersecurity alert issued last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned that major enterprise networks and small to medium businesses may be compromised by malware known as “Backoff.”

So far, networks for companies like UPS and Supervalu supermarket stores have been attacked for their customers’ information – but DHS emphasizes that many vulnerable or affected businesses may still be unaware of the threat.


About the “Backoff” Virus

Reports indicate that this could be the same virus responsible for the infamous data breaches of Target stores, which compromised tens of millions of credit and debit cards last year.*

While the Secret Service investigates the most recent attacks and learns of new cases, here’s what we DO know about Backoff*:

  • First Appearance: October of 2013
  • What It Does: Analyzes the memory files of Point-of-Sale (PoS) systems (e.g. cash registers) for customers’ sensitive payment information
  • How: Communicates with a remote server to access credit card data and keystrokes for passwords and other sensitive information
  • Who’s At Risk: Targeted more than 1,000 major U.S. networks and businesses so far
  • Note: Has been known to slip past some antivirus software


Your Business Network May Be Infected

Like most advanced malware, Backoff’s tendency to evade certain antivirus software makes it incredibly difficult to pinpoint.

That’s why DHS “strongly recommends actively contacting your IT team, antivirus vendor, managed service provider, and/or point of sale system vendor to assess whether your assets may be vulnerable and/or compromised.”*


What This Means for You

New Cyberattack Targets 1,000 Major Networks – and Probably More

No matter what, never adopt new technology or policies without taking the time to learn about necessary precautions.

Doing so can also leave your company vulnerable to more types of malicious attacks, especially as hackers become more emboldened by successful cyberattacks. The best solution is to learn how to defend your company proactively.

Start here: Security Advice from Cyber-Experts

A proactive outlook becomes even more important when your company utilizes policies like BYOD: Read why it’s important to Make BYOD Security a Priority, ASAP.

And finally, the increasing prevalence of mobile devices in the workplace escalates the need for mobile security: Read How to Ensure Mobile Security for tips and advice.


* Williams, Martyn. US warns ‘significant number’ of major businesses hit by Backoff malware, IDG News Service. Network World, Inc.