What formjacking is and how it works
The second, more “popular” variety, is called cross-domain script include and is activated through third-party scripts. So, once infected, just one script used by thousands of sites can yield massive amounts of stolen data.
Once the code has been inserted, the hackers receive a copy of all the data as soon as the victims click on “next” or “send” on the checkout pages. And all this happens quietly, without the consumer knowing it, because the purchase goes through normally after the criminal act. That’s why a theft such as this can often take months to be discovered, or to show up in data leakage or sales.
The trend is for the scenario to get worse, because the attacks are multiplying: Symantec (the Norton Antivirus company) blocked 3.7 million of these attacks in 2018—and more than a million in just the last two months of the year.
Magecart: big-time attacks and million-dollar fines
Just last July (2019), British Airways was fined ₤183 million—approximately $229.2 million —under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for the leakage of the complete credit card numbers of 500,000 clients, which had occurred after a formjacking invasion in June of 2018.
This is the largest fine that has been levied under the European regulation, and it emphasizes the need for commitment and responsibility on the part of companies with regard to their clients’ data.
The hackers responsible for the leakage belong to Magecart, a group of invaders specialized in inserting malicious code into e-commerce businesses that use the Magento platform from Adobe, which runs with PHP.
Data leakage: Be on the lookout!
It’s well known that code security weaknesses (that allow hacker invasions) are closely connected to data leakage. The information obtained can be disseminated or sold on the surface web and/or on the deep and dark web.
In the case of web attacks (whose purpose is to invade systems, to differentiate them from cons such as phishing), the F5 Networks security company has pointed out that formjacking is the category’s “champion.” This technique accounts for 71% of all data leakage stemming from hacking—and also—12% of all leakage.
Protection: before or after exposure?
The answer is: Both! Application Security (together with a good assessment of all third-party scripts used) is an extremely delicate and important area for anticipating problems and avoiding the type of breaches that British Airways suffered. (Not to mention the fines.) However, adequate monitoring and response are also indispensable parts for proper risk management in Information Security (InfoSec).
And the remediation must go beyond the data leakage itself. Notice how instructions and/or codes that can provide access to breaches may be available in collaborative repositories—and those can show their faces anytime.
If access to the breach occurs, it will then be necessary to have an effective data exposure monitoring and response tool. In these days of increased legal responsibility for data, it’s critical that companies exercise extreme care regarding their digital risks, both to protect their business and avoid fines. Reaction time is another determinant that can lead to the discovery of system flaws, and thus avoid more serious damage.
Axur serves companies that need help in dealing with digital risks such as data leaks. Using thousands of bots and artificial intelligence technologies, we scan the web in search of violations such as the ones you have just read about. A solution that can be useful in solving these problems is Digital Fraud Discovery. And for monitoring the deep and dark web, take a look at Threat Intelligence Discovery.