Dexter malware kills again

Dexter malware hits big in South Africa

Showtime's infamous serial killer Dexter may be gone but his equally nasty malware namesake is apparently still striking unsuspecting bank systems. 

A number of news outlets are reporting that South African banking and credit card systems were recently hit by a Dexter-based malware attack that may have netted the cybercrooks directing the attack over a million dollars.

[IN THE NEWS: Vinyl records fight digital death]

The attack hit the payment card systems of thousands of stores, restaurants and hotels according to the Payment Association of South Africa (PASA).  PASA said it believed the criminals responsible were based in Europe, but added it was not sure from which countries.

"It was certainly cleverly written. It took a while to detect," Walter Volker, chief executive at PASA, told Reuters.  All South African banks - including industry leader Standard Bank and smaller rivals FirstRand, Barclays Africa Group and Nedbank - had been affected. PASA said it believed the criminals responsible were based in Europe, but added it was not sure from which countries. "It's probably the worst [attack] of its kind in terms of the losses," Volker told the BBC.

Dexter came to light last year after it had be discovered to be responsible for a huge infestation in 40 countries including the US and UK.  Dexter got its name from a string of code found in one of its files, which may link it to the Dexter cable show.

In and IDG News Service story on Dexter: Threat detection company Seculert CTO Aviv Raff said the number of Dexter infected systems, belonging to enterprises ranging from major retailers to hotels, restaurants and even private parking providers means that "probably tens of thousands of people" have been victims. How Dexter gains access to systems is still not known.

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8 and on Facebook

Check out these other hot stories:

Gartner: Top 10 future strategic IT predictions

Instagram is wrecking your dinner (and lunch too for that matter)

Online "revenge porn" gets a smack-down. More on the way?

DARPA adds $15.5 million to help take semiconductors beyond Moore's Law

FTC for first time spanks illegal text messenger with $1M fine

Air Force wants technology that will let drones sense and avoid other aircraft

How do you define a cybersecurity "professional'?

FBI warns "Beta Bot" malware can kill your anti-virus programs, steal data

Energy Department spends $30M to bolster utility cybersecurity tools

Orbital Science just made private space arena way more interesting

DARPA hunts airplane-like spacecraft that can go Mach 10

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.