The information and technology age in which we find ourselves has created many great conveniences and opportunities for innovation. Buying items has become incredibly easy, for example – a swipe of your debit card and you’re good to go! You don’t have to worry about the risks of carrying around cash, and the whole process takes just a moment. Everything is automatically updated to your bank account, even, which takes away the necessity of balancing checkbooks and manually updating your financial status. Unfortunately, however, this convenience has repeatedly been attacked by various means and used to access private customer data. Find out what options you have at your disposal to help ensure the safety of your hard-earned money and personal information.
What Are POS Attacks?
Also known as “point of sale” (POS) attacks, POS is an attack that takes place when you swipe your credit or debit card to complete a purchase. In the grocery store when you use your debit card to check out and swipe the card at the register – this is an example of a POS attack point, because the threat comes from the act of swiping your card. The software that runs on the register, in other words, can be compromised. The malware that targets these machines takes known security vulnerability and manages to capture your credit card data before the information is encrypted. It should be noted that this is not a new exploit, but rather one that has been around for at least ten years.
Hackers who want to steal credit card information and sell it online are the primary sources of this malware infection. Depending on the specific kind of malware used and the system on which it is deployed, they can even collect varying levels of credit or debit card information – and depending on how much they capture, someone might be able to make a clone of your physical card and use it in physical store locations as opposed to being restricted to online use alone.
How Does the Malware Make it Into the System?
You might be curious as to how this kind of malware makes it onto the POS systems that you eventually end up using. It doesn’t seem like that type of machine should be easily affected! Always keep in mind, however, that those machines do have to have some sort of interface installed on it in order to make it functional. Many of them are running some form of the Windows operating system, or have software that is based upon Windows running. This means that it’s not terribly difficult to manipulate, creating security threats for the system fairly easily. Because the POS system is usually connected to the local network in some way, shape, or form, individuals looking for an opportunity to implement their malware tend to try to infect the network itself. This can even be done by exploiting a device like a router that is using a default password – and once they make it inside the corporate network, it’s not too difficult to install the malware. One easy way to make sure this never happens to you is through the use of malware removal programs.
Addressing the Threat
If you think your system may have been compromised, or simply want to know for sure, consider utilizing malware removal programs like Immunet. These products are designed to root out malicious programs and help you completely remove them from your system. This can be a great way to ensure the safety of your network and make sure that your customers don’t encounter any problems after frequenting your establishment. Another way to ward off this type of attack is by ensuring that every single device connected to your network is secure! No matter how long and incomprehensible the stock password on your printer or router seems, for example, you have to keep in mind that it is a default password – there are only so many of them that are created and attached to those machines. If someone is able to locate a list of the passwords used, they could easily find a way into your network. This is a common problem, and it’s one that has such an easy solution: change your password!
Don’t be an unwitting partner in this kind of malicious attack. Make sure that your network is safe and secure, and regularly scan it to ensure that it stays that way. Use anti-malware applications that can help you eliminate any potential threats that you may find, as well as help you protect your system in the future. Consumers should stay vigilant, too. Watch your account activity and make sure that there are no odd purchases present. The amount spent won’t always be huge at first, so make sure that you regularly ensure the integrity of your accounts.
POS malware is everywhere and is a major threat – make sure to share this article to spread the word.