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In The Headlines – Point-of-Sale Security

by Patrick Rardin in Mac’s, PC’s, Technology

So you are in the midst of your Summer Vacation or still planning it, right?  Well, perhaps, many of you heard recent headline’s like ours above, or perhaps not. Today there was more news about security breaches in *Point-of-Sale (POS) Processing devices. Here is just one of those recent articles in the news: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2455780/aloha-pointofsale-terminal-sold-on-ebay-yields-security-surprises.html

As many of you well remember TARGET® got hit pretty bad. Unfortunately our technology is more to blame. While other countries use much more sophisticated CreditCard transaction processors, the good ole U.S. is still using credit cards with basically a cassette tape band on the back of our credit cards containing all your personal credit card information, making it really easy to become compromised.

One of the problems I have noticed is that many of these POS systems are being run on Windows XP (a defunct, unsupported, and insecure) operating system. These are mainly used in Bars and restaurants.

What can you do?

1) I encourage you, if you have not already, to setup your online access to your Credit Cards and or Bank Debit Cards (online Banking). I know for some this seems daunting and unsafe, however, regardless of signing up or not these companies already have the portals setup so by you creating access to them you are not decreasing your security as the security already lies in the hands of the Credit Card companies and the Banks.

2) Always create a secure password for these accounts and you can still keep it simple such as converting AuntJane to AuntJ8ne!… (yes those are 3 periods) which can exponentially increase the security of your password. I know there are a lot of passwords to manage out there but a simple app such as “PasswordsPlus” (that’s a clickable link BTW) is a software program which requires 1 password to open it, then you can record and easily access all your passwords via your computer, smartphone, and tablet (it synchronizes across several devices automatically for you. Don’t be shy, if you need help setting it up, just a one time setup, GIVE US A CALL!

3) Now with the above 2 items set, after every Credit Card or Bank Debit Card use follow up regularly to review your charges in real-time to catch the breaches or suspicious charges.

4) If you receive an email or phone call from these institutions “Fraud” protection – Do not accept them as many of them are fraudulent (trust me they are going to craft every email to look authentic, and phone calls are scripted the same way, they may even have your name, don’t fall for it!) – Instead get the card, and dial the number on the back and reach out to their fraud department to see if there are any issues.

5) PLEASE feel free to ask your servers, at restaurants and bars, if their system for processing Credit Cards is a Windows XP system, they may or may not know, but if they do, and they say yes, let them know that as a customer of theirs you feel they should be looking out for you and protecting you and if they cannot find a quick way to secure their system you might have to chose and alternate restaurant to frequent (this of course after you’ve eaten 🙂

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us, about anything that seems unclear in this article and or any other tech question.

Please enjoy your summer and make it as stress free as possible.

*This is a good description for those of you wondering what Point-of-Sale (POS) really means courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_of_sale

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