Protect Your Reputation and Customer Credit Card Information with POS System Security

POS Security

The US Department of Justice reveals that credit card fraud has increased by a whopping 31% in the past three years alone. As a business owner, credit card theft is simply unacceptable. It must be your highest priority to uphold customer privacy with each transaction made to protect both sensitive credit card information and your business’s reputation.

How to protect customer credit card information

Whether you own a retail store, a restaurant, or a convenience store, it’s important to strengthen any weaknesses in your security features to keep customer credit card data protected. Yes, that’s right – your POS system security can make or break a customer’s privacy protection in your establishment.

Visa confirms that credit card information is stolen more often at restaurants than in any other type of business. Restaurants account for roughly 40% of credit card theft!

But before you point the finger at your server… Credit card theft is unlikely to occur in a restaurant where you would think. Fraud isn’t the result of a run-of-the mill scenario where a server copies down your credit card number when cashing out your check.

Most credit card theft is actually related to hackers that can break into a restaurant POS system to download hundreds of credit card numbers from unassuming customers. A new opportunistic malware that does just that is simply called Dexter. It has affected hundreds of POS systems in more than 40 countries within just 2 to 3 months; 30% of the malware infections were in the US.

How does it work? The malware is designed to target POS systems specifically to retrieve sensitive credit card information directly from the server. From there, the data is automatically transferred using a remote command and control system, otherwise known as a C&C system.

Hackers can then use the newly scraped data to clone credit cards that have been previously swiped at a restaurant or retail store. Innocent customers that used credit cards in a secure environment have now become victims of global credit card fraud.

How to prevent a POS security breach

If you use a POS system in your business, you’ll want to take this information to heart. Consider the following guidelines to keep customer data safe and prevent an all-too-common breach in security:

  • Update the POS with relevant security patches on a regular basis.
  • Contact your POS vendor directly for the latest security upgrades and patches.
  • Limit access to USB ports; it’s possible for a hacker to enter a store and plug a thumb drive directly into a POS to steal data when a cashier is distracted.
  • Use end-to-end encryption to encode customer data.

Last not least, businesses will do well to train employees to stick to strict security protocol. As employees grasp the importance of vigilant credit card security, they will be less likely to get duped into revealing a password to a hacker, either online or in person.