Cyber Breaches in Hospitality are at an all Time High!
When we hear the words “cyber breach,” images of the Target logo
or guys in ski masks breaking into some sort of high-tech building and ending consumer debt come to mind. But the truth is, cyber breaches are far more common and more dangerous to the public (and companies) than we think.
Cyber breaches have existed since before the internet and have been increasing exponentially as technology grows and changes. According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report for 2014
, one of the largest sectors of data security breach is hospitality, and most of the attacks start with the POS system.
The combination of high-volume credit card transactions with massive storage of personal information has created opportunities for thieves to steal patrons’ identities en masse. Major hospitality giants such as Wyndham and Hyatt have been affected by cyber attacks, as have 33 P.F. Chang’s locations just this year.
So why are POS transactions so prone to attack?
The most common weaknesses seem to occur when information is stored on the machine or in a secondary location. Hackers can access this information via viruses that get onto your machine. There are literally dozens of different ways a computer can become infected with spyware, viruses, and other malware, such as by not running the latest updates, or by running pirated software, etc.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to safeguard your company from this type of disaster.
Be sure to create and enforce diligent password procedures, limit outside access (for example, stop downloading apps onto your POS — Facebook does not belong on that machine), and get an up-to-date POS system (and/or credit card processor) that has been built to protect against these types of attacks.
The SkyWire POS
is built to use a system called point-to-point encryption, one of the most cutting-edge methods for transferring encrypted data. The information is never stored, therefore eliminating the chance of viruses becoming installed. Instead, all information is encrypted and directly transferred, leaving no trace of its existence for bad guys to access. With a system like this, you can rest assured that credit card processing will never result in a cyber breach.
A cyber security system that protects the entire POS system is an absolute must for keeping personal data safe and shutting down cyber attackers. Is it possible for POS systems to be more secure without spending tens of thousands of dollars?
Because attacks can be launched at multiple levels in a network, each level needs to be safeguarded from attacks, starting at the most vulnerable, the internet connection itself. And that’s where companies like Fortinet (enterprise) and My Digital Shield
(small to medium business) come in to offer strong cyber security for your company and/or network.
Remember: It is crucial to be diligent, organized, and well equipped. While the money you save could total in the thousands of dollars, saving your reputation is priceless.