In 2017, cybercriminals succeeded in installing malware on that targeted the point-of-sales (POS) systems of a large clothing retailer. This allowed them to collect payment information belonging to customers for a period of several months before the security breach was discovered.

As POS systems now use similar software and hardware to servers and workstations, they’re just as vulnerable to hacking and other security breaches. Cybercriminals can install malware or monitoring devices on these systems to steal payment information.

As point-of-sales systems face a variety of threats, it’s important that businesses everywhere be mindful of their security. If you run a retail business, you need to take the right precautions to secure your systems from common attacks.

How You Can Secure Your POS System

Here are some best practices you can implement right away to keep your systems secure and help prevent a POS intrusion.

  • Use Antivirus Software – Systems that are powered by any version of the Windows operating system are particularly vulnerable to malware infections. There are plenty of high-quality antivirus programs that you can download and install on your systems. If you’re a small business without a huge software budget, there are even several free programs that you can use.
  • Keep All Software Running on Your Systems Updated – One of the ways hackers are able to get access to a system is by exploiting known vulnerabilities. By keeping the operating system and any software updated and patched, you’ll get some protection against known exploits.
  • Secure Your Business Network – Many attacks on point-of-sales systems are carried out remotely through the Internet. In order to prevent such intrusions, you should make sure that your network is protected against attacks. This can involve installing hardware and software firewalls, as well as security software on all critical systems.
  • Ensure the Physical Security of Your POS Devices – Some attacks are carried out by cybercriminals who install skimmers or other monitoring hardware on POS devices. You should use security solutions that make it hard for malicious individuals to compromise the devices, as well as keep all terminals under video surveillance.
  • Keep Payment Information and Other Sensitive Data Encrypted – Many software solutions used by retailers to process payments and store customer data now come with an encryption function. You should take advantage of it, as it will help keep sensitive information secure, even if the servers used to store it are compromised during a security breach.
  • Carry Out Tests and Security Audits Regularly – It’s always a good idea to carry out tests that assess just how secure your systems are. There are many automated software tools that you can use to spot potential vulnerabilities. You can also hire a professional IT security firm to conduct a full audit of your systems and recommend ways to fix any potential vulnerabilities that have been discovered.