a hacker group created a fake icons hosting website in order to disguise malicious code meant to steal payment card data from hacked websites.
The operation is what security researchers refer to these days as a web skimming, e-skimming, or a Magecart attack.
Hackers breach websites and then hide malicious code on its pages, code that records and steals payment card details as they’re entered in checkout forms.
Hackers created a fake icons hosting portal
In a report published today, US-based cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes said it detected one such group taking its operations to a whole new level of sophistication with a new trick.
The security firm says it discovered this group while investigating a series of strange hacks, where the only thing modified on the hacked sites was the favicon — the logo image shown in browser tabs.
The new favicon was a legitimate image file hosted on MyIcons.net, with no malicious code hidden inside it. However, while the change looked innocent, Malwarebytes said that web skimming code was still loaded on hacked sites, and there was clearly something strange with the new favicon.
The trick, according to Malwarebytes, was that the MyIcons.net website served a legitimate favicon file for all a website’s pages, except on pages that contained checkout forms.
Malwarebytes said that site owners investigating the incident and accessing the MyIcons.net website would find a fully-working icon hosting portal, and would be misled to believe it’s a legitimate site.
However, the security firm says MyIcons.net was actually a clone of the legitimate IconArchive.com portal, and that its primary role was to be a decoy.
Furthermore, the site was also hosted on servers used previously in other web skimming operations, as reported by fellow cybersecurity firm Sucuri a few weeks before.