Over the past few years, many small and mid-sized business owners have learned about the threats that malware and computer viruses pose for their payment processing devices and other systems. Unfortunately, those threats only continue to broaden and become more problematic for merchants, as hackers try to develop new types of harmful software designed to mine payment information and other sensitive data.
The question for many companies quickly becomes how they can keep their systems as safe as possible. Certainly, there are industry-recommended best practices to follow, and working with a POS reseller can help them maintain higher security standards than they might be able to achieve on their own, but it’s important to consider all available options.
The threat posed by malware and viruses becomes even more considerable as companies – of all sizes – are increasingly shifting the sensitive data they protect into the cloud and more devices within a store are connected to a network, according to Business Solutions.
A perfect example
One of the big reasons smaller companies in particular may face these threats today is that they typically don’t have room in the budget for expensive IT or security operations. And in fact, many larger businesses – national chains like Target, Home Depot, Wendy’s and, most recently, Chipotle – are still hit with hacking attacks and malware infections despite spending a lot more money than any small business could to keep their systems safe.
The Chipotle hack, which only came to light in late May, led to the exposure of payment data – including account numbers, expiration dates and verification codes – for customers as more than 2,200 locations nationwide, lasting nearly a month, according to USA Today. In the wake of the attack, the fast food chain said it had removed the offending malware from its systems and would continue to work toward enhancing its security capabilities.
One of the biggest ways in which smaller businesses in particular are hit with malware attacks such as these is when users download malware directly onto a network, usually through phishing attacks, according to Small Business Trends. Often, these attacks come in the form of emails that try to get would-be victims to download attached malware, or click a link that will prompt them to do the same (or do it automatically). Generally speaking, companies that train workers on how to spot attack emails will typically be better at avoiding these pitfalls.
The best way to keep malware and viruses from affecting customer or client data is by heading it off at the pass with strong security training and the right kinds of software-based protections, like firewalls and anti-virus programs. Using these in concert, and perhaps working with a POS reseller to continually ensure that software is updated regularly, can go a long way toward increased security on an ongoing basis.Back To Blog