• ram scraping
  • What is 'RAM Scraping" in a retail data breach?

    When we discuss large-scale retail data breaches such as the now-infamous Target holiday season attack, it is important to understand exactly how these attacks occur. For major retailers like Target and many others, the attacks occur at the POS (Point of Sale) system level. These are the registers and computers used to process payment cards and transactions at a physical location. When a customer swipes a card, the POS system momentarily holds the transaction information from the magnetic stripe before sending it to a payment processing provider. It is in this brief instance of live memory, or RAM, that the theft takes place. Sophisticated and hard to detect malware parses the memory and obtains these plain-text information files. RAM Scraping is not new, but global cybercrime has become so lucrative that these groups can dump resources into developing stealthier and meaner variants.

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