Recently, researchers have unearthed a new technique to be on guard against. A few hackers have begun embedding credit card stealing scripts inside favicon meta data.
If you’re not familiar with the term, you definitely know what a favicon is.
It’s a custom icon used by websites for branding, associated with a specific URL. Although not universal, they are ubiquitous on the web and most companies have them.
While the idea of embedding malicious scripts on websites to steal credit card information is not new, the notion of hiding those scripts in the EXIF files of a company’s favicon to avoid detection is both new and innovative. The new technique was spotted by researchers at Malwarebytes. They discovered the script embedded as described above, and designed to steal credit card data from sites making use of a popular WordPress ecommerce plugin called WooCommerce.
Of course, the script could be modified to attack any other ecommerce platform, so this isn’t a threat that’s unique to those making use of WooCommerce. If you do use that plugin, you should have your IT staff perform a careful check of your system to ensure that you haven’t been compromised. The value of embedding the script here is that most scans don’t include favicon meta data by default. Fortunately, that’s easily fixed. So going forward, as long as you be sure to include it, then your risks should be minimal.
This is by no means the first time hackers have found an unusual point of insertion for the scripts they rely on to cause harm, and it certainly won’t be the last. Just be sure that your IT staff is aware of the issue and stay vigilant.