GamaPOS: The Sneaky Cyber Bandit Targeting Your Credit Cards

Published Categorized as Tips & Tricks

We live in a world where even the most mundane places, from your local pet store to that cozy movie theater downtown, are not safe from the clutches of cybercriminals. The latest troublemaker on the block is a malicious software called GamaPOS, and it’s on a spree, affecting not just retail businesses but also credit unions. Join us as we delve into the depths of this cyber menace and uncover the tricks it has up its sleeve.


What is GamaPOS, and How Does it Operate?

GamaPOS is no run-of-the-mill malware; it’s a cunning piece of code wreaking havoc across 13 U.S. states and Vancouver. This sneaky culprit primarily targets Point-of-Sale (POS) devices, essentially Windows computers used at checkout for retail transactions. Once a POS system is infected, GamaPOS skillfully snatches customer credit card data with every sale, sending it straight into the hands of hackers who thrive on the dark web.

The Andromeda Botnet Connection

Operating via the notorious Andromeda botnet, one of the biggest networks for malware distribution, GamaPOS has found a powerful ally. Andromeda, making a comeback as a favorite among hackers, utilizes emails as its weapon. Pretending to offer assistance in complying with credit card payment standards, hackers send out deceptive emails, persuading businesses to update their POS software. Little do they know, opening that seemingly innocent attachment unleashes GamaPOS into the system, leaving no trace of its original self.

The Credit Card Hunt

GamaPOS isn’t a one-size-fits-all threat; it has a refined taste for credit cards. Judging by the number of digits, it specifically targets Visa (12), Discover (12 or 14), and Maestro cards (14). It’s like a picky eater in a buffet, only selecting the choicest options.

Andromeda: The Swiss Army Knife of Malware

Andromeda, the accomplice in this cybercrime, is a modular marvel. Think of it like a Swiss Army knife for hackers, capable of running various malware on hijacked computers. From keyloggers to form grabbers, proxy modules, and rootkits, it’s an all-in-one package. This adaptability makes GamaPOS the first of its kind, coded with Microsoft’s .NET framework, making it tailored for Windows computers. With Microsoft’s .NET going open source, more developers are adopting it, widening the playground for GamaPOS.

Dynamite Fishing and the Shotgun Approach

GamaPOS employs a strategy known as “dynamite fishing” or the “shotgun” approach. Casting a wide net, it assumes that at least a few of the infected computers will be POS systems. This approach, although not new in the malware world, is particularly potent due to Andromeda’s pervasive reach across personal computers of all kinds.

The Threat to Businesses in the U.S.

In the U.S., POS systems are like magnets for cybercriminals. A study by security firm Trustwave revealed that more than half of the data breaches in North America occur at POS locations. The rest of the world has a significantly lower rate, mainly because of the widespread use of EMV cards, unlike the U.S. reliance on magnetic strip cards. EMV cards, with embedded smart chips, bring along efficient anti-fraud controls.

Defending Against GamaPOS

For businesses at risk, the time to act is now. Less than 4 percent of POS systems infected with Andromeda have GamaPOS, according to Trend Micro. Sweep your systems, install update patches promptly, and educate your staff on safe email practices. Neglecting this could lead to compromising your customers’ credit card information.

proxy.Pac and wpad.Dat

The main difference between proxy.Pac and wpad.Dat lies in their functions and usage in configuring proxy settings for web browsers.


  • Function: Proxy.Pac (Proxy Auto-Configuration) is a JavaScript file used to automatically configure proxy settings for web browsers.
  • Usage: It contains a set of rules that define how web browsers should route traffic through a proxy server based on factors such as the destination domain or IP address.
  • Flexibility: Proxy.Pac provides flexibility in defining complex routing rules, making it suitable for diverse network configurations.
  • Deployment: It is typically hosted on a web server, and clients retrieve and execute it dynamically.


  • Function: Wpad.Dat (Web Proxy Auto-Discovery) is a script used for automatic proxy configuration, allowing browsers to discover proxy settings dynamically.
  • Usage: Instead of relying on manual configuration, Wpad.Dat enables browsers to locate and use the appropriate proxy settings through a process of automatic discovery.
  • Simplicity: It simplifies the configuration process for end-users, as they don’t need to manually input proxy settings.
  • Location: Wpad.Dat is often hosted on a web server or distributed through the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP).

In summary, while Proxy.Pac relies on JavaScript rules for explicit proxy configuration, Wpad.Dat streamlines the process by enabling browsers to discover proxy settings automatically. The choice between them depends on the specific needs of the network and the desired level of manual configuration.

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How does GamaPOS spread?

GamaPOS spreads through the Andromeda botnet, primarily using deceptive emails offering assistance in updating POS software.

What makes GamaPOS unique among POS malware?

GamaPOS stands out as the first malware coded with Microsoft’s .NET framework, designed specifically for Windows computers.

Why are POS systems in the U.S. more vulnerable?

POS systems in the U.S. are prime targets due to the reliance on magnetic strip cards, making them more susceptible to cyber attacks.

How can businesses protect themselves from GamaPOS?

Regular system sweeps, prompt installation of update patches, and staff education on safe email practices are crucial defenses.

What’s the connection between Andromeda and GamaPOS?

Andromeda serves as the distribution channel for GamaPOS, operating as a modular platform capable of running various malware.

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