The Best Security Features for Your Point of Sale
As a small business owner, you know how important it is to protect your customers’ data and your own reputation from cyberattacks. Point-of-sale (POS) systems that do not have reliable security features are one of the most vulnerable targets for hackers. Hackers can steal credit card information, personal details, and even access your back-end systems.
That’s why you need to invest in a POS system that has robust security features and follows the best practices for POS security. In this blog post, we will cover some of the essential security features that you should look for in a POS system, and how they can help you prevent data breaches and fraud.
What Is POS Security?
Point of sale security is the process of creating a safe environment for customers to make purchases and complete transactions. POS security measures are crucial to prevent unauthorized users from accessing electronic payment systems and reduce the risk of credit card information theft or fraud1.
Point-of-sale hacks represent a major opportunity for cybercriminals. POS applications contain a huge amount of customer data, including credit card information and personally identifiable information (PII) that could be used to steal money or commit wider identity fraud. By hacking one application, malicious hackers can potentially gain access to millions of credit or debit card details that they can either use fraudulently or sell to other hackers or third parties1.
Hackers can also exploit retailers’ compromised POS applications, which can give them access to vast amounts of customer data, as well as additional applications and systems the retailer operates1.
Organizations must use point-of-sale systems security to protect their applications, prevent unauthorized access, defend against mobile malware, and prevent hackers from attacking their back-end systems1.
How POS Security Works
Security is one of the biggest risks of POS system environments. Hackers are constantly on the lookout for holes in security and potential weaknesses that might allow them to launch attacks on POS applications.
An attack typically begins with a hacker gaining access to a target system. They do this by exploiting a vulnerability or using social engineering techniques. Then they will install POS malware that is specifically designed to steal card details from POS systems and terminals. They then go through an organization’s POS system memory to scrape and collect data. The hacker then moves data to another location for aggregation before transferring it to an external location that they can access1.
Organizations can defend against these attack vectors by deploying technology that prevents POS malware. This includes whitelisting specific technology to protect against unauthorized practices, using code signing to prevent tampering, and using chip readers so customers do not have to swipe their credit and debit cards (making it more difficult for attackers to replicate card data1).
6 Best Practices for POS Security
There are several measures that organizations can adopt and deploy to defend themselves. Business owners may want to protect themselves from POS attacks, data breaches, and POS malware infections. Such measures include:
- Use iPads for POS: Most high-profile POS attacks have occurred as a result of malware applications loaded into the POS system’s memory. Hackers are able to secretly upload malware apps into POS systems. Then they can pilfer data, without the user or the merchant realizing what happened. The important point here is that a second app must be running (in addition to the POS app), otherwise, the attack can’t occur. This is why iOS has traditionally facilitated fewer attacks. Because iOS is only able to fully run one app at a time, these types of attacks rarely occur on Apple-made devices2.
- Limit POS Application Risks: One way to limit the risk of malware infection is to restrict the number of applications that can run on your POS devices. You should only install trusted and verified applications from reputable sources, and avoid downloading any unnecessary or suspicious software. You should also disable any unused features or services on your devices. This may include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or USB ports, that could be exploited by hackers2.
- Ensure POS Software Is Always Up To Date: Another way to prevent malware infection is to keep your POS software updated. You can do this by installing the latest security patches and bug fixes. Hackers often exploit known vulnerabilities in outdated software versions, so always install updates as soon as they are available. You should regularly use antivirus software and firewalls on your devices to scan for any signs of infection2. Additionally, you should be aware of any changes in compliance regulations that may affect your data security standards.
- Monitor Activity in POS Systems: You should also monitor your POS systems for any unusual or suspicious activity. Suspicious activity includes, but is not limited to unauthorized logins, failed transactions, or data transfers. You should use tools such as intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS). These tools can alert you of any potential threats or breaches in real time. You should also review your transaction logs and audit trails regularly, and report any anomalies or discrepancies2.
- Use Complex and Secure Passwords: You should also use strong and unique passwords for your POS devices, applications, and accounts. You should avoid using default or easy-to-guess passwords, such as “password” or “123456”, and change them frequently. You should also use different passwords for different devices and accounts, never share them with anyone, and enable two-factor authentication (2FA). This method requires an additional verification step, such as a code sent to your phone or email, to access your POS systems2.
- Consider Physical Security Measures: Finally, you should also consider the physical security of your POS devices and terminals. You should lock them in a secure place when not in use, and prevent unauthorized access or tampering. Use encryption methods to protect the data stored on your devices and wipe them clean before disposing of them. Also use secure payment methods, like chip cards or contactless payments. These methods are harder to clone or skim than magnetic stripe cards2.
POS security is not something that you can afford to ignore as a small business owner. By following the best practices and features, you can protect your customers’ data and your own reputation from cyberattacks. You can also improve your customer experience and loyalty by providing a safe and secure payment environment.
If you are looking for a POS system that offers the best security features and practices, check out www.allbusinesssolutions.net. We offer a range of POS solutions that are designed to meet the needs of small businesses in various industries. Our POS systems are easy to use, reliable, and secure, and come with features such as:
- iPad-based POS systems that prevent malware infection
- Whitelisting and code signing technology that protects against unauthorized practices and tampering
- Chip readers that prevent card data replication
- IDPS and firewalls that monitor and prevent threats and breaches
- Encryption methods that protect stored and transmitted data
- Secure payment methods that support chip cards and contactless payments
To learn more about our POS solutions, visit our website or contact us today. We would love to help you find the best POS system for your business.