Tuesday, 03 September 2019 12:46

The Death of Windows 7

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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.

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With the rate of data breaches in the U.S. reaching a record high in 2014, concern for security is also peaking. Part of that concern may be mitigated by the implementation of EMV (Europay/Mastercard/Visa).

Although the cost of upgrading your POS system to include the EMV security standards might be frustrating, the implementation does include several benefits for your restaurant.

What is EMV?
EMV is a payment method that replaces the magnetic stripe on credit cards with an integrated circuit chip (ICC). The ICC contains the account number and other information needed for transaction processing. It has gradually been installed in other countries around the world, and its presence is now extending into the United States.

How does EMV increase security?
EMV makes it more challenging and, therefore, less enticing for thieves to counterfeit cards. The ICC installed on the card makes duplicating the information, which is traditionally stored in the magnetic stripe, nearly impossible.

Although EMV won’t actually prevent data breaches, any data that is stolen cannot be duplicated. This is because the ICC creates a unique transaction code every time it is used for payment. If a hacker were to acquire the code, he wouldn’t be able to use it again.

Further, EMV is compatible with encryption and tokenization, which can prevent the chances of a data breach. Encryption protects information between the card reader and the POS server. Tokenization then protects that information while it’s stored in a database or server by replacing customer data with a token. This token is meaningless to hackers but still allows you to perform sales reports and process returns. Combining this technology with EMV can help protect you and your customers.

What are the benefits of more payment options?

70% of credit cards will leverage EMV technology by the end of 2015. With this many card carriers using EMV technology, it will be necessary to implement EMV readers to accommodate guests.

Many of the EMV point of sale terminals also offer more payment options, including NFC (Near Field Communication). This allows customers to make payments using mobile wallet applications like Apple Pay or Google Wallet.

With that in mind, it doesn’t seem likely that MSR technology will disappear anytime soon. Canadian banks made the switch to EMV five years ago and are still issuing magnetic stripe cards.

Offering an array of payment options can provide customers with choice, increase their satisfaction, and, thus, increase your restaurant’s profitability.

What is the liability shift?
Beginning in October 2015, liability for fraudulent transactions will differ depending on whether or not you have installed an EMV option at your restaurant.

If you have not implemented EMV, you will be held responsible for fraudulent transactions committed on-site that could have been prevented by the use of EMV.

However, if you have an EMV option available, the liability for fraudulent charges falls on the card issuing company. Implementing EMV could save your restaurant the cost and stress of shouldering responsibility.

EMV equipment provides numerous benefits for your restaurant. With EMV, you can increase security and customer satisfaction while minimizing liability.

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