Retailers and banks are all too familiar with the point-of-sale (POS) system used to process non-cash payments. The POS system is comprised of many devices, including terminals, processing programs, computers, and more. The number of devices depends on the size of your business, but no matter how large your POS system is, it’s imperative to protect it.
POS systems handle sensitive information, and they are very appealing to cyber attackers. Cybercriminals seek to exploit the vulnerabilities of a POS system to access personal data like credit card details.
Since POS systems utilize devices on the network, they are vulnerable to network breaches or social engineering attacks. Attackers rely on similar strategies that they use to break into other devices, like computers. A POS attack will cost your organization time, money, and customer trust.
POS security is vital for preventing cyber-attacks and protecting your sensitive POS data. Today, we’ll share some tips on how to do so.
The Importance of POS Security
There is an abundance of potential threats that your POS system faces each day. Keeping your POS system secure is incredibly important, but it’s also very challenging. Cyber attackers are constantly updating their malware and looking for new ways to exploit vulnerabilities.
However, a wide range of organizations relies on POS systems. Retailers, hospitality businesses, food service companies, and others must prioritize POS security to keep customer data safe. An attack on your POS system can lead to an expensive and dangerous leak of payment information. Protecting your system and transactions is imperative for maintaining a trusted relationship with your customers.
POS Security Best Practices
Organizations should make POS security a top priority to avoid data breaches. Here are some essential best practices to follow:
- Update software. Update your POS software regularly. Using the newest version of your operating system allows you to enjoy the most updated security support from providers.
- Set a unique password. Once you set up your system, change the password to a secure password. Cybercriminals may compromise the manufacturer’s passwords to hack networks. Create a complex password with a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Additionally, implement two-factor authentication for added password security.
- Follow application whitelisting. Only use the necessary applications on your POS system. Avoid apps with added risks, like email or web browsers. Whitelisting the applications helps to cut down on the chances of malware infections via unnecessary channels.
- Test vulnerabilities. Set a consistent schedule for vulnerability testing. Vulnerability testing identifies weaknesses in your system and can help you catch and repair vulnerabilities before an attacker exploits them.
- Adhere to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. For example, you should monitor IT assets and business processes for vulnerabilities. Eliminate cardholder data when possible, and communicate closely with banks and card brands.
- Monitor network traffic. Keep an eye out for incorrect password attempts and unusual traffic on your network.
- Use end-to-end encryption. Encrypt credit card information when received on the POS and again when sent to the software’s server. Encryption helps to secure the data, even against malware. Proper encryption encloses the credit card data, so it never really stays in the POS unit.
- Antivirus software. One of the easiest ways to prevent POS attacks is with antivirus software. Endpoint protection software will scan your POS system and identify files or apps that you should remove. It will help you clean your system of any malware and prevent data theft.
- Lock devices at the end of the day. This physical security measure will help ensure that your devices stay where they belong. Take note of all devices at the end of the workday and secure them in a safe place.
- Monitor with video surveillance. One way that criminals steal data from a POS system is with a skimmer. The skimmer captures the payment information when a customer swipes their card. Install video surveillance at your POS terminals to catch any skimmer attempts.
- Train employees. The more eyes you have on your POS system, the better. Teach your employees how to monitor POS systems and spot any potential threats. Make sure your team understands your cybersecurity system and how to report suspicious activity.
- Regular maintenance. Maintain optimal performance by regularly cleaning your POS devices.
Work with Security Experts
Ultimately, one of the best ways to protect your POS system from cyber threats is with the help of a security expert. Security experts are highly trained in cybersecurity and can help your team stay updated with the best practices. With the help of a dedicated security expert like BLM Technologies, you can ensure maximum security and compliance. Our team provides IT security training and support for POS systems. To learn more about how we can help with POS security, contact us today.