POS Systems Are a Weak Spot for Small Businesses
Change the default password on your point-of-sale (POS) system. This means the computer you use as a cash register and to process credit card payments. Hackers already know the default administrative passwords, and if you havent changed it, then they will break in and steal your customers information, like their credit card numbers. The Verizon people even created a cutout card that people can take to their merchants outlining these steps.Things are a little more complex for larger companies, but that doesnt mean that theyre any less basic. Once again, the list of things to do includes changing default passwords and other security settings. It includes implementing a firewall, which should already be in place in every company, and setting it up properly, and changing passwords on even the suspicion of a breach. Some suggestions are clearly for larger organizations that have routine calls by service vendors, but these can also apply to smaller business. For example, you should confirm that the service representative that shows up at your door is actually who they say they are. One way to steal data is to have a fake service call in which the only service is to attach a USB memory stick into a handy USB port and stealing information that they cant otherwise hack into. It helps to insist on scheduled visits from your service vendor. That way, you know that when someone just shows up at your door and says theyre there to service your POS system, you know you can probably send them away, unless you want to call the police first. I know it sounds repetitive, and I know that weve been harping on these steps for years, but the fact is that theres a reason that virtually all data breaches would have been easy to prevent. That is because people who should be taking steps to protect your companys data arent doing their jobs. None of this is rocket science, and companies that fail to take even these basic steps should be held accountable for their reckless handling of personal information. Likewise, employees who fail to take even these basic steps should have their continued presence in your company evaluated. Ask yourself: Do you really want an IT guy in your company who cant or wont change your firewall passwords? I didnt think so.
The POS system is apparently a real weak spot for small businesses. Apparently, small businesses dont change passwords, but they do use the devices to browse the Web. Theres never a reason to do this, and if possible, software for accessing the Web for anything other than credit card processing should not be on these machines. While youre at it, you should make sure that whoever services your POS system has it set up so its compliant with the Payment Card Industry's Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).