Magento Attacked Through Card Skimming Exploit

Pierluigi Paganini April 06, 2019

Currently of 300,000+ Magento stores, the vast majority of the installs is still running vulnerable versions of the popular content management system.

The problem with patches is that sometimes they fix something and sometimes they break something. Sounds strange, right? Well, let us explain ourselves.

See, PRODSECBUG-2198 is a security patch for Magento that fixes a number of critical holes in Magento security.

For instance, it patches a dangerous hole in the store that allows hackers to gain admin control over any Magento 2 admin account they can get their hands on. The exploit is ideal: it’s easy to replicate, requires minimal technical expertise, and offers access to credit card data.

Skimming the Cream off the E-Commerce Stores

But if it has been already patched, why are we writing about it? Well, because right now out of 300,000+ Magento stores, the vast majority is still on the versions that are vulnerable to this exploit.

Sucuri team has reverse-engineered the patch Magento developers have deployed and managed to create a working proof of concept. And if an ethical hacker team can do this, others also can and will.

Within the last few months, the amount of hacker attacks on Magento stores has increased. The criminals deconstruct critical security patches and discover zero-day vulnerabilities to mass-attack unpatched Magento stores for known vulnerabilities.

What Does the Exploit Do?

On an unpatched store, the attacker can use an SQL injection to gain access to user names and password hashes and then crack them open. With hacked admin privileges scammers can get access to customer payment data.

In less technical terms, hackers digitally skim the cards of your customers. After that, they are free to sell this data on the dark web or use it themselves.

Who Is Affected?

Everyone is affected. The proof of concept was published on GitHub as a Python script on Friday, March 29. This means it has already been available for a week. Across the web, hacking attempts on Magento stores are in full swing.

The breach is affecting all versions of Magento 1 and 2, both Magento Commerce and Open Source. Vulnerable Magento versions include:

  • 1.14.4.x ( is patched),
  • 1.9.4.x ( is patched),
  • 2.1.x (2.1.17 is patched),
  • 2.2.x ( 2.2.8 is patched),
  • 2.3.x (2.3.1 is patched).

What Are the Consequences?

Store owners are liable to provide adequate payment security to their visitors. This means that if a payment processor discovers that your store was the source of a customer CC data leak, your merchant account with Visa, MasterCard, Stipe, Paypal, or any other payment processor will be immediately frozen, investigated, and possibly fined for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

Bear in mind that most payment processors don’t set an upper limit for the size of fines you can receive.

These payments can easily be the single crippling blow to your business. Ten leaked cards and a $5,000 fine will be dwarfed by 200 leaked cards and a $200,000+ fine (and a suspended merchant account!).

To sum it up, the main consequences are:

  • inactive merchant accounts,
  • long investigations of store transactions,
  • fines for leaked customer credit cards,
  • disruption to the business.

How to Protect Your Store?

Zero-day vulnerabilities are a gold mine to hackers exactly because Magento store owners are so slow in implementing security patches.

Because of Magento’s leading role as a B2B e-commerce giant and high level of customizations of an average store, it can be a significant challenge to install, deploy, and test new updates on Magento. But regardless of these challenges, it’s paramount that you take the security of your customers seriously.

Here’s the plan on how to safeguard your store against security breaches:

  1. Update to the latest Magento version as soon as possible. Make it a priority.
  2. Do a thorough security audit of the site to make sure you don’t already have security breaches in your store. Do a revision of all Magento users. Delete anyone you don’t recognize.
  3. If you have found any traces of a security breach, contact all involved parties (the payment processor, the customers, and company stakeholders) to sort this emergency out ASAP.

About the author Vasili Nikolaev

Technical writer @

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Magento, card skimming)

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