Last Updated: 2014-08-27 23:36:35 UTC
by Rob VandenBrink (Version: 1)
Further to the recent story on Memory Trolling for PCI data, I was able to spend one more day fishing in memory, I dug a bit deeper and come up with more fun Credit Card / Memory goodness with our friend the Point of Sale application.
First of all, just searching for credit card numbers returns a lot of duplicates, as indicated in yesterday's story. In the station and POS application I was working with, it turns out that if you search for the card number string plus the word "Approved", a single line was returned per transaction, with the credit card and PIN. For instance, to find all Visa card transactions (one record per transaction):
strings memdump.img | grep VISA | grep -i APPROVED | wc -l
In addition, I was able to find several hundred debit card numbers, simply by using those same search concept, but using the term "INTERAC" instead. Note that this search gets you both the approved and not approved transactions.
strings memdump.img | grep INTERAC | grep -i APPROVED | wc -l
With that done, I started looking at the duplicate data, and realized that some of the duplicate "records" I was tossing out looked interesting - sort of XML-like. Upon closer inspection, it turns out that they were fully formed MS SQL posts (and no, just as the credit card numbers themselves, I won't be sharing the text of any of those)
Interestingly, the SQL post formatted the credit card numbers as 123456******1234, such that the first 6 and last 4 digits are in clear text,but the middle digits are masked out.
This lines right up with the PCI 2.0 spec, section 3.3, which indicates that if you mask a PAN (Primary Account Number) that way, it is no longer considered sensitive. (https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/documents/pci_dss_v2.pdf). I'm not sure how keen I am on 3.3 - - I can see that storing this info allows the merchant to use that as a "pseudo customer number", so that they can track repeat purchases and so on, but I'm not sure that the benefits outweigh the risks in this case. I'd much prefer encrypting on the reader itself, so that the merchant and POS software never sees the card number at all - it's encrypted right from the reader to the payment processor (or gateway).
As I said when I started this, I'm not the expert memory carver that some of our readers are - please, use our comment section and tell us what interesting things you've found in a memory image!