Customer payment details stolen in JM Bullion hack

A collection of valuable goods including metals and jewellery
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Hackers scraped the personal information and payment details of customers who made purchases with the precious metals dealer JM Bullion in a cyber attack which lasted six months earlier this year.

JM Bullion discovered in July that malicious code had been embedded into its online shopping platform, enabling hackers to capture the information that customers entered when making a purchase.

The code was present on the website from 18 February 2020 until it was removed months later on 17 July following a forensic investigation, before JM Bullion then approached law enforcement. Customers who made a payment during this window, and therefore may have been affected, were only notified this week their information may have been compromised.

The information that may have been stolen includes name and address, as well as payment card details including account number, card expiration date and the security code required to make purchases. This, combined with the nature of the precious metals and items that JM Bullion sells, means the scope of financial loss is huge.

“JM Bullion takes the security of personal information in its care very seriously,” said the company’s CEO Michael Wittmeyer in a letter addressed to affected customers. “In response to this incident, JM Bullion notified law enforcement, our card processor, and the credit card brands, and continues to work with them as needed.

“We also reviewed our internal procedures and implemented additional safeguards on our website to protect customer information in our possession.”

Because of the nature of the platform, the attack is likely to have affected many investors. This kind of cyber attack is very serious, according to digital privacy expert at ProPrivacy, Ray Walsh, because the information taken can potentially be used to defraud the victims.

“It is incredibly unusual that one of the world’s largest retailers of precious metals should suffer a cyber attack that goes unnoticed for five months, and this is extremely concerning,” Walsh said.

“There is a serious risk that this data may have been sold on the dark web, which means that the investors involved could be facing an ever-growing risk of fraud. For this reason, they must act quickly to cancel their card and secure their accounts as quickly as possible.”

Speculation is rife that Magecart is behind the JM Bullion attack, given the fact this incident resembles the notorious group’s modus operandi. While this hasn’t been confirmed, the consortium is known to target online shopping cart systems, normally powered by Magento, by substituting a piece of Javascript code into the targeted platform.

These attacks are incredibly frequent, and only in September the ‘largest ever’ Magecart hack compromised 2,000 online stores in one fell swoop. Hackers, according to Sansec, attacked 1.904 individual stores supported with an out-of-date Magento 1 platform in an automated campaign.

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.