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Point-of-sale security, also known as POS security, entails preventing unauthorize individuals from accessing electronic payment systems with the intention of stealing credit card numbers and other personal information from users. In order to build trust with today’s consumers, POS security is a need. Its goal is to provide a secure environment in which customers can complete their transactions.

Procedure for POS Security Breach

Recognizing that there is some security risk associate with every POS system is crucial. Automated assaults on POS settings are frequently launch by attackers who are only searching for targets employing weak systems. The SANS Institute states that infiltration, propagation, exfiltration, and aggregation are the four fundamental POS breach steps. In the initial stage, an attacker acquires the ability to access the targeted systems, frequently by taking advantage of a system flaw or by using social engineering strategies. After the attacker is inside, malware is installed, which expands until it has access to the system’s memory and can gather the required data. After that, the data is transferred to a different place for aggregation within the target’s environment before being finally offloaded to a point outside the system that is reachable by the attacker.

Instances of Data Exposure Including POS Security Breach

Several high-profile data breaches involving client payment information feature weak POS security. Here are a few recent instances, just to give you an idea:


In late 2013, attackers compromised the retail giant’s POS systems with the Trojan, resulting in one of the greatest and most publicize data breaches in history. Up to 70 million Target consumers had their PII and credit card information stolen by the POSRAM virus. Target ultimately paid $39 million to resolve a class action lawsuit resulting from the hack, plus an additional $19.9 million in related legal fees.

Home Depot

In September 2014, it was revealed that yet another big store had been infected by POS malware, resulting in a data breach of POS systems. The data breach may have affected up to 56 million consumers across 2,200 stores, and Home Depot compensated $19 million to settle a related class action lawsuit.


One of the most recent instances of a data breach arising from a POS security compromise happened when the fast food company acknowledged that 1,025 of its locations had been infected by POS malware, leading to a data breach of an undetermined number of records. Regarding the incident, Wendy’s is facing numerous class action lawsuits.

Top POS Security Techniques

Use iPads for Point of Sale

Malware that has been place into the memory of a POS system has been the cause of numerous high-profile POS attacks. As a result, the hacker is able to upload malware programmers and steal information without being notice by customers or merchants. But most importantly, this attack technique necessitates the operation of a second application. Due to the fact that the operating system (OS) on Apple’s iOS systems can only fully operate one application at a time, as opposed to Windows devices, which depend on numerous applications running simultaneously, makes iOS systems more effective in preventing POS assaults. Hence, businesses can utilize iPad POS services to manage their POS systems, thereby lowering the likelihood of POS assaults.

Use End-to-End Encryption

Encryption is one approach to guarantee that consumer data is never at risk from hackers. No matter where or how malware is installed, the POS device will never be vulnerable if the credit card, as well as other sensitive data, is encrypted as soon as it is receive and when it is deliver to the POS program server.

Use an Antivirus to Protect Your POS

Businesses may protect their networks and stop POS attacks using antivirus software. Monitoring devices to find unusual or troublesome software, files, and user conduct that needs to be stop or remove, prevents viruses from entering the systems of businesses. An antivirus notifies businesses when there may be a problem and allows them to start the cleaning process to ensure that any malware that may be present does not lead to the corruption or exploitation of data.

Lock Down Your Systems

Although it is unlikely that employees will use the POS systems of their companies to launch an attack, malevolent insider behavior or human error are nonetheless possibilities. When POS software is install on a device, it is feasible for someone to steal, lose, or accidentally misplace the device, giving them access to or the ability to take client data. Business organizations need to secure their systems to reduce these risks. This means ensuring that employees lock down their work gadgets at the end of each workday, actively watching all business gadgets throughout the day, and securing devices in locations where only a small number of trust individuals can access them.

Stay Away from External Networks

A skilled hacker could compromise a remote POS system. Hackers will normally try to access such systems with software that is inactive until it links to a POS system, which is usually made possible by systems that can link to external networks. Thus, organizations must avoid linking to external networks while also making sure their internal, local, and secure systems are maintain. They should try to limit the handling of mission-critical business operations, like transactions and payment systems, to safe corporate networks.

Maintain PCI Compliance

Organizations must adhere to the requirements of data protection and privacy laws in addition to putting procedures in place to oversee and safeguard POS systems. This includes the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which governs security requirements for any business that accepts credit cards from well-known merchants. Organizations are require to comply with all transactions made using card machines, internet shopping sites, routers, networks, paper records, and servers. 

The PCI Security Standards Council, which is task with overseeing PCI DSS, is require by financial institutions and is in charge of enhancing cardholder data protections in order to lower credit card fraud. 

To lessen concerns about fraud or theft, the Council advises enterprises to delete cardholder data whenever possible and to keep in touch with the major financial institutions and credit card companies. As a way to ensure they find any vulnerabilities as soon as possible, it also suggests that firms constantly analyze and inventory their IT assets and business processes.

The Importance of POS Security

Because of the vast number of known and unknown risks that exist, as well as the importance that POS system material has to hackers, POS security is difficult. Also, since modern Pos malware is always being develop or update, there are an increasing amount of threats to POS systems. Despite these difficulties, businesses should prioritize POS security because these systems manage private customer data and a breach of consumer payment details can be extremely costly both financially and in terms of harm to your company’s reputation. 

This is especially true for businesses in hospitality, food service, retail, and other industries that heavily rely on POS systems. Companies can dramatically reduce their risk of experiencing an unpleasant POS security incident by installing protections to protect POS systems and transactions and training employees on POS security procedures.


All in all, any POS system that is in use needs to be protect from hackers who might steal sensitive information about customers, sensitive financial information, and other important data, as well as commit identity theft and other types of fraud. To protect private customer data, avoid the compromise of consumer payment details, safeguard POS systems, and ensure consumer transactions, businesses that depend on POS systems must priorities POS security.

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