from the tricorder-malfunction dept.
Handheld scanners are installed with sophisticated malware by China-based threat actors in order to target shipping and logistics organizations all over the world says the security firm TrapX (report 15 MB PDF).
The attack begins at a Chinese company that provides hardware and software for handheld scanners used by shipping and logistics firms worldwide to inventory items they handle. The manufacturer installs the malware on the embedded Microsoft Windows XP devices.
Experts determined that the threat group target servers that stores corporate financial data, customer data and other sensitive information. A second payload downloaded by the malware then establishes a sophisticated C&C on the company's finance servers, enabling the attackers to exfiltrate the information they're after.
The malware used by the Zombie Zero attackers is highly sophisticated and polymorphic, the researchers said. One observed attack revealed that 16 of the 48 scanners used by the victim were infected, and the malware managed to penetrate the targeted organization's defenses and gain access to servers on the corporate network.
Interestingly, the C&C is located at the Lanxiang Vocational School, an educational institution said to be involved in the Operation Aurora attacks against Google, and is physically located one block away from the scanner manufacturer, TrapX said. Another possible attack vector is of course the labels with printed binary data. Compartmentalized networks and a strict API enforcement gateway may be ways to combat threats like these.