POS Systems: Security First
Payment Safety Might Be at Threat
Businesses are more and more relied on technology to manage their point of sale transactions and for this reason point of sale security is an issue that is increasingly concerning retail owners all around the world.
The information customers hand over during payment transactions makes the business and its clients vulnerable to cyber threats.
Unauthorized parties have the opportunity to steal customer information and credit card details stored in POS software committing credit card fraud. If you are a business man, make sure that basic security measures are covered to avoid any security issues.
If you own a business then you could greatly benefit from a secure POS software. You are very welcome to fill out the free quote form to be contacted with a list of hand-picked suggestions that match your specific needs.
The biggest credit card predators are POS malwares. These evil software are expressly created and programmed with fraudulent intentions to steal payment information, and especially credit card details.
Malware Points of Access
Point of sale software are programs that run on ordinary computers that can be easily infiltrated by cyber criminals.
Almost every POS system is connected to a network in order to get in contact with external credit card processors that are necessary to validate credit card transactions.
Windows and Microsoft software are the most commonly used embedded systems in POS software and also the most frequently hacked operating systems.
This means that it could be fairly easy for criminals to develop malwares to attack these POS terminals and bypass any type of existing security. Moreover, if the POS software runs on many devices that are all connected on the POS network, hackers can infiltrate the whole network through remote access.
POS systems can be unknowably hacked by malwares, especially if the same devices are used for general purposes such as internet browsing and receiving emails.
Finally, malwares can also attack the software used for the POS system maintenance to enter the network.
How Do Malwares Infect POS Systems?
Malwares infect the POS endpoint through an entry point. Once the malware is on the POS terminal, it attacks the point of sale data servers copying sensitive data stored on the POS system’s RAM memory. The hackers can both steal the information while the payment transaction is occurring or enter the database and access the stored data.
These dangerous viruses use memory scrapers to access and steal payment information at the beginning of the transaction process before the data is encrypted.
Memory scraper malware are designed to hunt for data in the correct format. This means that, as soon as the malware detects unencrypted data, this information is instantly sent to the attackers’ remote computers.
Credit cards at checkout points can also be physically attacked. Criminals can gain access to sensitive payment information by positioning unnoticed hardware on the point of sale devices.
There are two main implementations for this fraudulent purpose.
In order to access and hack the POS system, a gateway to the POS devices can be gained through complex and very expensive devices that are positioned on the point of sale hardware.
Criminals secretly attach an unseen reader to the retailer’s main card reader that sends the information to the hackers.
Magnetic tracking technology can also be implemented by these schemeful people to read and store credit card data during swipe payments. These types of technology can allow access to card number, security codes, and several other sensitive information.
This information can also be part of a wide chain of criminal schemes. The POS malwares can be created to be sold to and bought by malicious people who intend to steal customer data from retail businesses and selling it again rather than using it directly.
Prevention and Defence
There are several measures that can be embraced both by customers to protect their payment information and by business owners to defend their point of sale systems from cyber-attacks.
What Can Consumers Do?
While consumers cannot know upfront whether the retailer they are shopping in is protected from cyber threats or not, they can follow some steps to secure their accounts.
The first and most important step is to monitor the bank account statement for any anomalous transactions. By regularly checking their transactions, users can immediately contact their banks and block their accounts if they see any suspicious and unauthorised movements from their accounts. Doing so, they can prevent further losses.
Finally, the best precautionary measure that consumers can use is to ask for a Chip-and-PIN card that use an embedded chip to hold the information instead of a magnetic stripe offering improved security against malware devices.
What Can Business Owners Do To Protect POS Systems?
- The best ways to avoid attacks to your POS system are first of all to keep your system updated. Always remember to run the latest anti-virus software and operate full system scans of your devices. Also remember to periodically check your system for maintenance.
- Secure the payment process infrastructure and routinely delete cardholder information from the system database.
- Extend security measures and periodical check-ups to all devices that are connected to the POS network.
- Implement measures that assure all data is encrypted, limit access to the internet and disable remote access.
- Control employee error and negligence to avoid potential insider threats.
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