Your POS equipment may be ready for holiday traffic, but is it ready to handle holiday hackers?
Many experts are saying that malware cyberattacks targeting retail and restaurant POS systems will only intensify during the season of giving, so it’s crucial that you prepare your POS equipment to handle these attacks.
So how can you secure your POS equipment for the holidays?
- Update Passwords
Plenty of malware attacks are successful because stores never bothered to change their passwords from “password” or “admin.” Programs that target POS terminals can just fire automatically generated passwords at a remote desktop until they’re granted access. Update your password to something more complex, like three to four random words in a row or a mix of letters and numbers, and change your remote desktop function so it requires two-step verification (a system password and a user login, for instance).
- Secure Your Network
Your POS system should operate on a separate, protected network that only employees can access. You can further protect your system by equipping it with firewalls, proxies, and an up-to-date intrusion prevention system.
- Encrypt Your Data
Make sure you’re aware of what data your terminals are storing, like credit card information or customer contact info, and make sure that information is encrypted. You should also think about encrypting card and pin information even before it’s stored in your terminals.
- Update Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software
Most anti-virus programs didn’t pick up on the malware hitting POS systems, and if yours hasn’t been updated in a while, it won’t either. Upgrading your virus definitions won’t solve the problem on it’s own, though it will help. You should also install malware detection systems to catch what your anti-virus software might miss.
- Watch the Floor
Most hackers are probably attacking your systems from a basement somewhere, but plenty of thieves act in broad daylight, in your stores. Watch for devices like card skimmers, USB sticks, and any equipment that attaches to your POS terminals. Have a plan to deal with these devices if you spot them.
These measures won’t make you immune to POS attacks, but they should at least help minimize the risk.
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