New Hotel Virus Stealing Customer Credit Card Information

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If you’ve stayed at a hotel lately, then you may want to check your credit card statement. A new virus is floating around the online underground marketplace that hacks into check-in software used by many hotels. The virus infects the hotel’s system and then seeks out customer credit card information.

The virus is labelled as a Remote Access Trojan, also known as an RAT, and it specifically targets the point-of-sale machines (the machine that scans your credit and debit cards) that can be seen at the check-in counters of hotels around the world.

The program is available for a measly $280 and the seller promises that it will remain undetected by any of today’s leading antivirus programs. To make the deal even sweeter, the seller includes specific instructions on how to trick hotel desk attendants into installing it on their systems.

Fortunately, it appears that the virus does not collect Social Security Numbers, and for now, it only targets credit card information and other billing data. To steal that data, the virus captures keystrokes, takes pictures of the computer screen, and monitors every process on the computer.

PC security experts claim that viruses like this have been used for years to hack into the banking industry, government offices, and other official organizations. They hide from antivirus software by changing their algorithm, which avoids the signature-based detection filters that many antivirus programs employ.  Once they have infected the hotel’s system, they can be incredibly difficult to detect and remove – even by today’s leading antivirus scanners.

Hotels are a particularly attractive target for hackers: they generally don’t employ a large IT staff, and employees may only have a rudimentary knowledge of PC security software. With hundreds of credit cards passing through a hotel’s servers every day, it’s clear to see why more and more hackers are focusing their attacks on hotel networks.

That doesn’t mean that the average PC user can afford to go without antivirus software. By checking your credit card statements regularly and thinking proactively while online, you can avoid many of today’s worst malware problems.

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