Threat of the Month, November 2015

What is it?

A systematic attack by cyber criminals designed to specifically exfiltrate data from your Point of Sale (POS) systems.

How does it work?

Attackers will use network infiltration techniques to gain access to POS devices. Since today's POS devices are computer-based, and require a network connection for payment verification purposes, they can be breached, which allows customer payment card information to be stolen.

Should I be worried?

Yes. The number of POS breaches is increasing. Recently, we have seen two major breaches at Hilton and Trump hotels. There were also several high profile breaches over last years' holiday season and we expect there will be additional breaches again this holiday season as we are seeing an increase in POS OS vulnerabilities, POS device specific malware and POS data vulnerabilities. In most businesses, the POS device is the single most lucrative target available to a cybercriminal. Even a single small retail location can provide the payment card information of hundreds or thousands of customers in a single day. 

How can I prevent it?

Protect all attack vectors. Since most POS breaches come from inside the network it is important to ensure that the endpoint devices are secure, as well as the email and web vectors.

Use cloud-based security tools. Cloud-based email, Web and endpoint security can allow you to protect all devices regardless of where they are located and is always up to date. This means that protection for every device at every retail location doesn't require additional maintenance, hardware or costly traffic backhauling. 

Keep POS devices up to date. If a vendor releases a patch, install that patch as soon as possible. Most patches are provided as a fix to a known vulnerability that has already been exploited at other locations.  

Secure all devices, not just the POS device. Most attacks come from another device on the network that has been compromised. 

Secure your web gateway to only intended connections. Gated access for POS and other devices can insure that data is not exfiltrated to cyber criminals without your knowledge.

– James Socas, executive chairman, iSheriff

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