The holiday season is here, and the retail industry is preparing for shoppers who are rushing to take advantage of sales and purchase gifts in-store or online. However, continuous point-of-sales (PoS) attacks have been making headlines in the last few years. In 2013, Target confirmed a massive credit card data breach that affected 40 million customers. Last year, Home Depot said 56 million credit cards were possibly compromised in an attack on their payment terminals. And just recently, Hilton confirmed that malware attacked their PoS systems to extract financial information. These past few years have shown a rise in data breaches, and Check Point expects this growing trend to continue throughout next year.

Check Point predicts that attacks on PoS systems will increase in 2016. It will become the primary method for hackers to steal financial and personal information of consumers. Larger breaches in 2016 will be the result of custom malware that is designed to bypass even the most sophisticated security defenses. Giant retail corporations will be targeted, but start-up companies will also be vulnerable to attacks because they don’t have as many resources to strengthen their defenses.

Methods of payment are also becoming more digital as consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to make purchases. Mobile PoS systems are beneficial for retailers, but can also put customer data at risk. Digital currencies like PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Wallet can provide new attack surfaces for hackers to exploit.

But this doesn’t mean that businesses are left to fight these cyberattacks on their own. It’s critical to add layers of security for stronger protection, and retailers can also teach their employees about proper use of PoS systems and learn the signs that tell when security might have been breached. Consumers can also take precautions in order to minimize the impact of a data breach. In addition to staying aware of phishing attempts and malware-installing websites, shoppers should regularly monitor their accounts to flag any suspicious activity.

From the numerous data breaches that occurred in 2015, it’s evident that cybercriminals are going to continue looking for vulnerabilities in PoS systems. Retailers today might be compromised without even knowing it. As we head into the New Year, it’s essential for businesses to be proactive and implement advanced solutions to secure their PoS networks from data and credit card breaches. Companies can stay ahead of cybercrime by making it their highest priority to protect their customers and businesses from any PoS attack.

See what other security threats and trends Check Point predicts for 2016.


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