Preventing Hackers from Stealing your Restaurant POS Data

With more than one million restaurants in the U.S. alone, the restaurant industry is a delicious target for hackers and cyber criminals. Hacking is a growing global problem that is costing businesses billions of dollars in lost sales annually. It is the number one threat facing restaurant owners in the 21st century.A data breach at a restaurant can cost over $100,000 in losses, according to the National Restaurant Association. And while cyber security may not be as appetizing as a grilled juicy steak, it should be a top menu item for every restaurant owner, nonetheless.

Data breaches aren’t limited to just the big guys anymore. Smaller chains and even small mom and pop restaurants are also being targeted. The 2015 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report for the hospitality industry found nearly 80,000 incidents resulted in more than 2,000 data breaches. Even more disturbing was that the majority of breaches were undetected for more than 15 months. Although the numbers of POS intrusions are down 24 percent, still slightly more than half of the intrusions were from POS terminals.

Fortunately, protecting your restaurant from a POS attack is not as hopeless as it may seem if you take the right precautions to make your system more difficult for hackers to attack.

One of the best ways to prevent hackers from stealing your POS data is to upgrade to an EMV-enabled debit/credit card terminal. To reduce fraud at the point of sale, banks and card issuers are replacing the old mag-stripe cards with debit and credit cards embedded with a tiny microchip.

Processing an EMV transaction is completely different and much more secure than swiping a magnetic strip. In a typical magnetic strip transaction consumer card and pin data is transmitted to the financial institution from the POS terminal. EMV transactions use dynamic tokenization to securely process POS transactions without transmitting any consumer account or financial data across the network. A new token is issued with every transaction and is unique to the card.

Finally, point of sale software and devices that are non-PCI compliant will make your restaurant more vulnerable to data theft. That’s why it is important to ensure that your POS software, hardware and payment terminals are PCI-compliant. This is your assurance that the software and hardware installed in your restaurant complies with the latest payment card industry security standards.



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