How to Prevent Data Breaches due to POS Malware at Point of Sale Networks
The point of Sale Networks has become a favorite target for cybercriminals. The seemingly less security and the abundant amount of sensitive card data available at POS machines has induced cyber criminals to target POS networks with POS malware. Data breaches are not uncommon, and the industry has witnessed massive data breaches – which has put customer credentials and their payment card data at risk.
The industry has still not stopped talking about the Target breach of 2013 – the massive breach which could have been prevented if they had followed the standard procedures and responded to the alerts in a timely manner. It all demonstrates a probably lackadaisical attitude or an “it can’t happen to us” attitude. Now breaches of that kind severely affect customer trust and business.
Ways to prevent data breaches at POS networks
Due to its benefits in business, automation has permeated many businesses – retail, hotel, travel, etc…, The POS machines are an advancement to the cash registers of yore. The latest POS network devices provide many significant advanced features, notably – they could be part of an ERP system that would allow the enterprise/ organization to manage inventory, online ordering, E-commerce integration, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and reporting and analytics.
This is the first layer of essential security. All the POS devices that are part of the POS network must be secured from malware infection. A POS network typically consists of a server to which PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, POS card swiping machines, payment accepting devices are connected. Cybercriminals will try to infiltrate through the POS devices, the POS network, and the server. A robust endpoint security will secure the server and also the network and endpoint POS devices. As an endpoint will contain a firewall, it will only allow the legitimate, allowed traffic flow into the network and outside the network. Email communication between vendors and outside parties, and the enterprise can be monitored and filtered. Unknown files received are auto-sandboxed and checked for malware infection. Intrusion by malware is monitored and prevented.
The devices that are part of the POS network must be controlled by a robust Device Management system. This would allow the IT security administrators to monitor the devices, control the policies and antivirus definition updates. Applications that are specific to the business could also be containerized and this would prevent any POS malware in any form on the endpoint devices from affecting the enterprise system.
Regular Malware Scanning
The POS network must be diligently scanned regularly for any signs of POS malware infection, and appropriate responses must be taken immediately. It must also be ensured that the virus definitions are updated. Further, as threats are very advanced nowadays, cloud-based scanning and auto-sandboxing are essential.
Cybercriminals have been known to install skimmer devices on card payment devices to extricate data. These devices could impregnate the network with POS malware. While this may seem a bit archaic, it continues to happen. These devices capture payment card data, which is then used by cyber criminals to create cloned cards and perform misdeeds. Physically securing the machine, along with security camera monitoring could be used to prevent these types of physical vulnerabilities.