Cybersecurity vendor RiskIQ’s investigation of a recently disclosed breach at Ticketmaster UK showed that the online ticket seller is just one of hundreds of victims of a huge campaign to steal payment card data by a threat group called Magecart.
RiskIQ says it found that Magecart has compromised over 800 e-commerce sites worldwide by secretly installing digital card-skimming software on third-party components and services used by these sites. One of Magecart’s campaigns dubbed SERVERSIDE, alone has claimed at least 100 top-tier ecommerce websites and suggests the group has amassed a huge treasure trove of payment card data. “Magecart is bigger than any other credit card breach to date and isn’t stopping any day soon,” the security vendor said.
In Ticketmaster’s case, Magecart installed the card-skimming malware in a customer support software component from third-party supplier Inbenta. The rogue software was designed to capture payment card data being entered into online forms on Ticketmaster’s site and ship it to a remote server controlled by the attackers. The command-and-control server that Magecart used in the Ticketmaster breach has been operational since at least late 2016.
Ticketmaster, which discovered the breach June 23 and disclosed it about a week later, has described it as impacting less than 5% of the company’s global customers. According to Ticketmaster, only UK customers who purchased tickets or attempted to purchase tickets via its site have been impacted. But RiskIQ says its investigation shows that Magecart has managed to compromise Ticketmaster sites in Ireland, Turkey, New Zealand, and Australia as well. Ticketmaster did not respond to a Dark Reading request seeking comment on RiskIQ’s report.
Ticketmaster is just one of hundreds of e-commerce sites that Magecart has infiltrated with its card-stealing software. And Inbenta and SociaPlus are not the only third-party suppliers that the threat actor has exploited to get there: RiskIQ says Magecart has broken into and installed card-skimming malware onto software from other widely used third-party vendors such as PushAssist, CMS Clarity Connect, and Annex Cloud.
RiskIQ has been tracking Magecart’s activities since 2015 and says the threat actor’s strategy of targeting third-party suppliers marks a dangerous new shift from its previous practice of targeting individual websites.
“They seem to have gotten smarter,” RiskIQ said. “Rather than go after websites, they’ve figured out that it’s easier to compromise third-party suppliers of scripts and add their skimmer.”
For organizations, the breach at Ticketmaster breach and other sites are another reminder of the risks involved in using services and software from third parties without constantly vetting them for security issues.
Mandates like PCI, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and others make clear that organizations can no longer say a breach resulted from a third party and expect to avoid responsibility, says Justin Jett, director of audit and compliance for Plixer.
Under GDPR, Ticketmaster was required to disclose the breach publicly within 72 hours even though it was the result of malicious software in a third-party software components. “This makes it much more important to properly vet these third-party vendors because ultimately the organization is also liable,” he says.
Given the extensive use of third-party software and services by most organizations these days, expecting a consistent level of security across the entire supply chain can be challenging, say security experts. But rather than shooting for 100% risk elimination, the goal instead should be to manage third-party risk in a manner that is aligned with business interests.
That means having a formal vendor risk management program that details the people, processes, and tools to execute it, says Chris Olson, CEO of The Media Trust. Organizations need to maintain a constantly updated inventory of all the third parties that directly or indirectly support their website. They need to conduct a risk assessment before bringing a supplier on board and then follow through with periodic audits.
Also critical are clearly spelled-out security policies and standards for third parties, Olson says.”[Use] contract clauses and SLAs to ensure third parties align with those policies and standards and stay compliant with laws and regulations,” he notes.
The key is to treat third parties as an integral part of your own company, adds Elad Shapira, head of research at Panorays. In doing that, realize that some suppliers will pose less of a security risk than others, he says.
“Security visibility is key to understanding the risk that the third party poses to your company,” Shapira says. “Once you have that visibility, you can demand a certain level of security that’s reflective of the risk appetite of your company.”
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Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year … View Full Bio