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Why Are Point-Of-Sale Data Breaches a Menace to Retailers?


Why Are Point-Of-Sale Data Breaches a Menace to Retailers?
Why Are Point-Of-Sale Data Breaches a Menace to Retailers?
October 31, 2017


In Retail stores across the world, Point-of-Sales systems play a vital role in the day to day activities. This also makes them the greatest security liability as well since hackers constantly target them, affecting households across the globe. Reports suggest that Point-of-Sales breaches are the most common security threat in Retail stores, mainly due to poor authentication and vulnerability management which make it an open target for cybercrime. As a result, it is crucial for retailers to have a POS software that can defend the Point-of-Sale data from such vulnerabilities.

To fully comprehend the importance of having a secure POS software, it is crucial that we review the risks that most retailers have faced or will face in the future which enables us to draw plans and strategies that can help manage these vulnerabilities.

- Firstly, it is important to look at the software itself where POS technology at its core is simple, designed to run on common operating systems such as Windows, Linux etc. This in turn is a vulnerability since malware can be created to target a wide array of businesses operating with the same OS such like Windows for example which leaves the Point-of-Sale data vulnerable.

- Another important factor is the Vendor driven vulnerabilities, where it is noted that the sheer volume of vendors and management practices are the main reasons for data breaches. Poor security policies, lack of standardized vendor practices all contribute to the security breaches leaving the Point-of-Sale data. It is crucial that smart vendor selection and management practices are critical to ensure the security of the POS software.

- Installation errors are also another very important reason that can significantly compound inherent risks in the POS technology. Most organisations rely on internal or external parties to install the POS systems, and the problem arises when these parties lack the credentials and knowledge to configure the security. The best way to counter this is to use a certified “Quality Integrator and Reseller” technician for the POS implementation.

- Weak network security is another reason that leaves POS technologies and Point-of-Sale data vulnerable. Any vulnerabilities in the network can leave your POS wide open to attacks. Applications with weak or default credentials make gaining access to the POS easy. To avoid this, it is critical that organisations sperate the internet access from the POS with a firewall. It is also to have Policy-based management to prevent unauthorized device access. It’s also noted that organisations need to enable the strongest possible data encryption to deter the attempts of criminals trying to hack the POS technology.


Retailers cannot function without the POS systems, and this is also the biggest vulnerable point for them. Hence it is crucial that retailers are aware of the inherent, emerging and vendor driven risks that surround this technology. This enables them to take precautions for future attacks that could be targeted their way. It is crucial that immediate detection takes place in case of an attack, since this is the best way to protect the Point-of-Sale data of Customers as well as your brand.