Hackers have designed a new bot named Giftghostbot which is being used to defraud thousands of gift card owners. As per reports, these attacks were first spotted by the cyber security firm, Distil Networks on February 26th, and since then almost 1000 websites have been the victim of this hack.

The criminals are using this bot to automatically generate possible account numbers of consumers and requesting the account balance of each card number. Whenever a card balance is received rather than an error or zero, this means that the attack was successful and the credentials could be then sold on the Darkweb or use to make a purchase.

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This is what Distill Networks researcher Anna Westelius has to say about the Giftghostbot:

“First, it is lying about its identity by rotating user-agent strings. Second, it is massively distributed across various hosting providers and data centers all over the world. Third, it is technically sophisticated when it executes JavaScript, mimicking a normal browser. Finally, it is persistent in that if it is blocked using one technique it adapts and returns using a different attack technique.”

According to Distill networks, the bot is capable of sending over 1.7 million requests per hour and the amount of damage that has been caused by this bot is still unknown.

Although, the bot is primarily designed to steal the gift card information of the consumers, in some cases it could affect the websites as well. In some isolated cases, the millions of requests could lead to slowdowns or potential downtime of the site.

Rami Essaid, CEO of Distill networks said that: “Like most sophisticated bot attacks, GiftGhostBot operators are moving quickly to evade detection, and any retailer that offers gift cards could be under attack at this very moment. While it is important to understand that retailers are not exposing consumers’ personal information, consumers should remain vigilant. Chef gift card balances, contact retailers and ask for more information. To prevent resources from being drained, individuals and companies must work together to prevent further damage.”

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It is worth mentioning here that the retailers are not responsible for exposing the personal information and the bot is specially designed to take advantage of balance checking feature of the sites.


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Carolina

Carolina works for HackRead as a technical writer. She is a Brazilian traveller who has been to almost every country around the world. She has a keen interest in technology, gadgets and social media.