A report this week released by Verizon analysed a decade of data on security breaches to find out what tactics hackers are using to attack computer systems. Comprising 100,000 separate incidents, including 63,000 in 2013, the security firm identified nine basic patterns that covered 92% of the attacks.
In this two part series we guide you through the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, telling you what the threat is, whether your industry is likely to be affected, and what you can do to protect yourself.
Industries affected: Accommodation, food and retail
Point-of-sale (POS) refers to the set-up for retail transactions, for instance when card payment details are transmitted when paying for dinner in a restaurant. Unlike card skimming, covered below, these do not involve physical tampering, but are conducted remotely.
Typical targets of POS attacks include hotels and grocery stores, with small and medium businesses particularly at risk. An attacker will seek to compromise the POS device, installing malware that collects magnetic strip data. According to Verizon, organised crime in Eastern Europe is frequently responsible.
What to do: Verizon advise companies to restrict remote access to their systems, and have a clear idea of when it will take place. Devices handling POS should not be used for email, gaming or social media, and passwords should be strong. Anti-virus software should also be installed on all systems handling sales.