Security News

Are Industries Ready for Point-of-Sale System Breaches?

February 17, 2014

Point-of-Sale System Breaches View research paper: Point-of-Sale System Breaches: Threats to the Retail and Hospitality Industries

The retail industry experienced one of its most massive data breaches involving stolen credit card information in the last quarter of 2013. This was shortly followed in 2014 by another targeted attack involving an online retail company, compromising millions of its customers worldwide. In our 2014 predictions, we cited point-of-sale (PoS) terminals as the most likely cause.

As businesses move to automate their processes and improve the operational efficiency, they rely on PoS systems for purchase transactions, including sales, accounting, and inventory. PoS systems are also used to track consumer behavior, like patron frequency, so companies can provide rewards to loyal customers. An example of such privileges is bonus airline mileage.

One weakness is all it takes for businesses to hit ground zero. Unfortunately, PoS systems, which often run on unsupported Windows versions, are easy and lucrative cybercriminal targets. Malicious software like the ALINA, vSkimmer, Dexter, and FYSNA are designed to target PoS devices and are widely available in the cybercriminal underground. Given these, retail and hospitality industries will have to rethink their security measures.

Businesses have the option to secure both their PoS devices and their networks. They can, for example start by deploying the latest OS version on their PoS devices, complete with updated patches. They can also opt to routinely delete cardholder data to minimize the information cybercriminals can steal. As for networks, they can also patch vulnerabilities and monitor for any changes in system components. Any odd behavior spotted on the network can signal compromise.

Of course, these are only a few helpful solutions. Business owners can learn more in-depth details about PoS threats and how they can avoid them in Point-of-Sale System Breaches.
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