POS Security: Is Your Restaurant at Risk?

Written by  on 28 May 2015

As a restaurant owner, you cater to many hungry patrons. What you may not realize is that weak POS security could also be feeding hackers who are hungry for your data.

Restaurants are a prime target for thieves because of their prolific presence and minimal security. With a multitude of restaurants making millions of transactions, thieves are eager to bite their teeth into all that juicy information.

Aside from ruining your restaurant’s reputation, credit card information theft can leave your company in the red. Starting October 1, 2015, merchants are liable for fraudulent credit card transactions – but only if they have not upgraded to solutions that comply with the EMV (Europay/MasterCard/Visa) standard.

There are six common ways hackers can access your data. By strengthening your POS security in these areas, you’ll save your restaurant and your customers from worrying about credit card information thieves.

 

  1. Weak firewalls: Don’t make it easy for hackers; ensure a strong line of defense. Firewalls filter out the malware, worms, and viruses that can compromise POS security.

    Using weak, default, or no passwords leaves a gaping hole for hackers to enter. “Password1” is easily guessed, so be sure to use something stronger. Using computer generated passwords and frequently changing them will ensure better POS security.

    Default firewall settings allow full inbound and outbound access, so to increase POS security, be sure that you are locking that access.

    Finally, installing non business-class firewalls leaves your restaurant at risk. Inexpensive, residential-class firewalls are easily hacked, so an upgrade is well worth the cost.

  2. Non-segmented networks: If your network isn’t segmented, all of your web-connected devices can communicate fluidly. This also means that if a hacker compromises one device, he will be able to access all of the devices that are connected, severely endangering your POS security.

    For example, if your POS system is on the same network as your public Wi-Fi, hackers can easily install software to collect sensitive data through the wireless connection. Separating your devices will help limit the entry points for hackers.

  3. Not proactively scanning: Don’t let hackers meander through your buffet of data. Take control by scanning regularly for breaches that may have been executed or are in the works.

    Excessive login attempts, unusual login timeframes, and unexplained modifications or deletions of data can be warning signs of a POS security breach.

  4. Unencrypted Data: Older POS systems may not encrypt credit card information, making it easier for thieves to steal patrons’ credit card numbers. By updating your POS system, credit card data will be encrypted as soon as the card is swiped.

    Upgrading to EMV-compliant systems increases your POS security by combining PIN or signature usage with a cryptographic component. Although this may not eliminate hackers, it can reduce their incentive because data is less accessible.

  5. Outdated software: Manufacturers’ software updates often include safeguards that increase POS security. These patches should be downloaded and installed immediately to prevent vulnerability to malware.

  6. Unsecured remote access: Remote access is a common way for restaurant managers to access work remotely or allow vendors to perform maintenance. However, unsecured remote access leaves your POS security at risk.

    Strong passwords that are frequently changed – along with two factor authentication – prevent hackers from entering into your secured network. Also, limit remote access to only essential instances. When it is necessary, only use secure methods, like a VPN.

POS security is essential to maintain strong customer relationships and prevent costly breaches to your important data and customer information. Reinforcing these key areas can safeguard your restaurant from a hacker feeding frenzy.

Read 528 times Last modified on Thursday, 28 May 2015 14:08

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