VB2014 paper: P0wned by a barcode: stealing money from offline users

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Feb 10, 2015

Fabio Assolini explains how cybercriminals are targeting boletos.

Since the close of the VB2014 conference in Seattle in October, we have been sharing VB2014 conference papers as well as video recordings of the presentations. Today, we have added 'P0wned by a barcode: stealing money from offline users' by Kaspersky Lab researcher Fabio Assolini.

If you aren't from Brazil, chances are you'll have never heard of the 'boleto bancário'. Yet boletos (as they are usually known) are a common way to pay bills in the country. At ATMs, banks and many shops, the unique barcode on your printed boleto allows you to pay a utility bill or a bill for online shopping, even if you don't have an online bank account.

For this to work well, it is important that no one is able to tamper with the barcode. Yet that is exactly what has been happening: Brazilian citizens have been targeted by malware that modifies boletos as they are being downloaded, making their barcodes point to different bank accounts from those the user believes they are paying into - accounts that are controlled by the criminals.


  Boleto modified by malware: both the barcode and the ID field have been modified.

Boleto fraud continues to be a problem. Yesterday, security firm RSA published a blog post highlighting a case in which malicious JavaScript is being injected into banking websites through DNS poisoning. (If accurate, this suggests the affected banks' security is well below par; HTTPS should make such attacks impossible.)

Though boletos are unique to Brazil, similar payment systems are used in other countries. At the most recent Botconf conference, Łukasz Siewierski discussed malware that targets Polish bank account holders by replacing account numbers stored in the clipboard.

You can read Fabio Assolini's paper on boletos here in HTML-format, or download it here as a PDF (no registration or subscription required). You can download the presentation slides here. We have also uploaded the presentation to our YouTube channel.

Fabio has spoken on cybercrime in Brazil at various VB conferences. We also recommend watching the video of his VB2013 presentation on malicious PAC files.

Posted on 10 February 2015 by Martijn Grooten

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

Nominations opened for sixth Péter Szőr Award

Virus Bulletin is seeking nominations for the sixth annual Péter Szőr Award.

Haroon Meer and Adrian Sanabria to deliver VB2019 closing keynote

New additions to the VB2019 conference programme include a closing keynote address from Thinkst duo Haroon Meer and Adrian Sanabria and a talk on attacks against payment systems.

Free VB2019 tickets for students

Virus Bulletin is excited to announce that, thanks to generous sponsorship from Google Android, we are able to offer 20 free tickets to students who want to attend VB2019.

VB2018 paper: Lazarus Group: a mahjong game played with different sets of tiles

The Lazarus Group, generally linked to the North Korean government, is one of the most notorious threat groups seen in recent years. At VB2018 ESET researchers Peter Kálnai and Michal Poslušný presented a paper looking at the group's various…

Book your VB2019 ticket now for a chance to win a ticket for BSides London

Virus Bulletin is proud to sponsor this year's BSides London conference, which will take place next week, and we have a number of tickets to give away.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.