Being a business owner today is harder than ever. A struggling economy. More government regulations. A hyper-competitive market. Consumers with less money to spend. It just seems to get harder each and every day to run a business. To make matters worse, a new variation of malware is now targeting Point of Sale (POS) systems that run on Microsoft Windows causing irreparable damage to the business you’ve built from the ground up. This malware detects card numbers and sends them to hackers using your POS system and network.
So what are some precautions a merchant can take to mitigate this risk? A few are:
- Security Patches – Since hackers are constantly creating new threats to penetrate computer systems, it is extremely important that you download security patches on a regular basis or set-up the auto-update feature available in most operating systems.
- Keep Your POS system single purpose – To minimize the amount of entry points a hacker can use to penetrate your POS system, do not use applications (internet browsers, email clients, etc.) that are not central to the system’s functions.
- Administrator Account – This new type of malware needs Administrative privileges to the operating system. Make it more difficult by creating strong passwords for your operating system’s admin account. In addition you can create a unique local Administrator password for the server and only use this when performing admin functions like software updates. Create separate User accounts for anyone else that needs access and make all users required to change their passwords at least every 90 days.
Regardless of how closely you follow the abovementioned suggestions, it’s still highly recommended you make sure your business is PCI compliant. Doing so will greatly decrease the chances of a breach which can greatly impede your business’s ability to accept payments from your customers and damage your reputation. Being in business is already hard enough. Don’t make it any harder than it already is.