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Point of Sale (POS) Protection and POS Malware

POS systems are now used everywhere, in all kinds of retail environments. The Point-of-Sale (POS) system is a device that uses an Operating System and a connection to the network to let merchants make transactions.

POS systems have now become quite popular, on account of the advantages they bestow on merchants (and customers) and especially since they happen to be very convenient compared to the cash register. But there is another side to it. POS systems now get popular than never before, and side by side, there is an increase in the number of POS malware (malware that target retail businesses with POS networks) and malware strikes at POS terminals.

Thus, it becomes imperative for business owners today to ensure proper POS protection. POS protection is needed not just to ensure hassle-free business activities, it’s also needed to secure customer information from being stolen.

To ensure a reliable POS protection platform, it’s necessary to adopt a layered security approach across the network so as to thwart oncoming attacks. Optimize POS protection by using POS Threat Protection from SecureBox. Enhance your POS security and focus on running your business instead of worrying over how to adequately protect POS terminals.

If you’ve got a POS system, it’s quite natural that you’d be concerned about POS security and would want to keep your POS system/network protected. The best thing to do is to add layers to security. At Comodo, we believe that it is best to understand what you’re up against and how to protect against it, by adding layers to your security.

Attacks on point-of-sales systems

In the recent past, attacks on POS systems have been happening all the world over at an alarming rate. For cyber criminals, POS malware has become one of the biggest sources of stolen card data.

Though POS malware had already been there, it was in 2013-2014 that it hogged the limelight, with some mega-breaches happening and with over 100 million payment cards being affected in the US alone.

Today hackers can buy POS malware kits, which are widely available in the cyber crime underground markets and can use them to earn millions. Card technologies are improved and cards made more secure, the PCI DSS ( Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) requirements are followed, but still there exist gaps in POS security that pave the way for attacks on point of sale systems. Moreover, security flaws in corporate IT infrastructure too let hackers make their entry into corporate networks. Thus despite strong security measures, POS attacks continue to happen all the world over and millions of cards get breached.

POS Security Issues

The majority of POS systems run on Microsoft Windows, an environment which itself is susceptible to malware, millions of malware in fact. It’s to be remembered that POS systems have always been the favorite targets of cyber criminals who’d want to steal business data (and sensitive personal data as well) and reap profits out of it. This is because of the critical role that POS systems have in handling financial data.

Cyber criminals have, in the past, developed and mobilized POS malware such as Dexter, Backoff, BlackPOS, Chewbacca and Kaptoxa to hijack cash terminals and siphon off money through the computerized POS systems.

Several POS malware use the memory-scraping method to steal financial data without being detected by a network or even by traditional security software, like for example an antivirus tool.

Most POS systems that we have today face some basic security issues. These basically relate to the following areas-

1. Accessibility

Though isolating POS systems would make them more secure, they need to be accessible and also need to be connected to the corporate network, for software updates, maintenance, exporting business data to other systems etc. This could cause security issues.

2. P2PE (Point to Point Encryption)

Lack of point to point encryption would pose serious security threats to POS systems and would lead to data breaches.

3. Software vulnerabilities

POS systems running on older OSs like Windows XP or Windows XP Embedded are more susceptible to vulnerabilities and prone to attacks. There could be other software vulnerabilities as well.

Antivirus

If you use any version of the Windows OS, you probably have an antivirus program installed and which is supposed to detect malware and viruses, remove or quarantine them, and keep them away from your files. But the issue with this is that such traditional antivirus wouldn’t be enough to protect POS systems.

We, at Comodo, use additional layers of POS system protection to ensure that you are adequately covered. For example, we use behavior-based blocking options and reputation-based technology. We also take a defensive approach because our product installs already thinking that you’re infected and scours your files/folders to find if anything is amiss.

You need to realize that antivirus, even the best kind that is designed particularly for POS systems, may not be good enough. Having an antivirus alone would be like keeping your door locked, but at the same time leaving the windows open to let the chill in. So, just remember that an antivirus software alone wouldn’t work for POS protection.

Multi-pronged Protection to Safeguard POS Systems

To protect POS systems from malware attacks, businesses would need strong endpoint protection solutions, especially those that take a layered approach. Many of the POS malware are extremely sophisticated and multi-staged in nature, and only a multi-pronged layer of protection would be effective against such malware.

POS Protection from SecureBox not only assures high visibility and inspection of events flowing through a POS network but also offers policy-based, granular control over traffic logs.

The POS Protection software serves as a detection and prevention tool for businesses to identify and fix threats to their POS devices. SecureBox complies with PCI-DSS regulations and gives retailers using POS networks the flexibility to audit, adjust and address the security requirements.

You need to focus on configuring your endpoint protection in such a way that it can block out even the most determined and obstinate attacker. For this you have to follow some safe practices, like not allowing anyone to use POS machines to browse the net or check emails, adopting good password management strategies etc. You also need additional layers of POS protection. Our product gives you those added layers, so contact us today to learn more.