After being accused of helping cyberattacks against various European and American targets, a prominent Chinese tech company is under investigation.
A swarm FBI agents invaded the Florida offices Pax Technology on Tuesday. This large point-of-sale company, owned by China, sells millions of payment terminals to companies around the world. POS terminals can be described as payment kiosks. Although you might not know the term, you have probably used one. You will find them everywhere, from supermarkets to gas stations and dive bars to your local dive bar.
WOKV in Florida reported the news of the raid on PAX. It was first reported by WOKV that the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and other agencies were investigating the warehouse of the Jacksonville-based business. The FBI gave the following statement regarding their activities when reporters questioned them:
In support of a federal investigation, the FBI Jacksonville Division is conducting a court-authorized search of this location with Homeland Security Investigations Customs and Border Protection and Naval Criminal Investigative Services. This search does not pose any threat to the community. No additional information is available at this time. The investigation continues to be active.
Although this doesn't provide much information, Brian Krebs, security journalist, has reported that the company is under investigation for possible involvement in cyberattacks against various European and American targets. Krebs was told by a trusted source that the company's point-of sale devices were being used to store malware and command and control centers, where attacks could be launched and data stolen.
Krebs was informed by a source that the FBI and MI5 are currently conducting an extensive investigation into PAX. A major US payment processor asked questions about network packets coming from PAX terminals. They were not provided with any answers.
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Worldpay from FIS would be the payment processor. Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that the company had replaced PAX-made point-of-sale device with two rivals. Concerns over strange network activity emanating form PAX's POS terminals prompted the replacements. They were initiated before the news of federal investigation. A spokesperson for Worldpay stated that PAX did not provide satisfactory answers when asked about the activity.
Krebs points out that point-of-sale terminals have been a target for cybercriminals for years. Hacker groups often hijack these devices for credential theft and distribution of malware. Krebs writes that it doesn't take a company being criminally involved to have its equipment commandeered. PAX claims that inquiries into its business were racially or politically motivated.
Gizmodo reached out to PAX for comment. A representative provided a statement that it had been sharing with customers. It has been partially reproduced here. The company claims that they have never been accused of any wrongdoing.
You may have noticed that yesterday, the PAX Technology Inc. warehouse in Jacksonville (Florida USA) was visited by an unannounced law enforcement agency as part of an ongoing investigation. As of Tuesday 26 October 2021, no wrongdoing allegations were made against PAX.
It's all a bit unclear as to what is going on, except for a lot of disruption for PAX. We reached out the Justice Department for more information and will update this story if we receive any response.