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Point of sale systems are a weak link in the information security chain

A new survey by Vanson Bourne has found that point-of-sale (POS) systems are a problem area when it comes to cyber attacks.

The survey found that in organizations that use POS systems to process credit card payments, 70 percent admitted they had no way of knowing if their systems had been targeted by attackers. And only 20 percent were able to say with confidence that their POS systems had not been targeted by a cyber attack. Among POS users, only half (52 percent) were confident or very confident that their current security solution would be able to stop advanced threats or targeted attacks against their systems.

“Visibility is critical for effective security, yet these results show that far too many organizations don’t know what’s happening on their endpoints”, said Ben Johnson, chief evangelist for Bit9 + Carbon Black, the survey sponsors. “You can’t stop advanced threats and targeted attacks if you can’t see what’s happening. Prevention, detection and response are built on the ability to see all activity on every endpoint and server”.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • End-user machines, i.e., laptops and desktops, were cited as being most vulnerable to cyber attack (41 percent), demonstrating the need for organizations to ensure they can continuously monitor and record activity across all endpoints.
  • 74 percent of respondents still had systems running on Windows XP, even though the OS has now reached end of life. And only 29 percent of that group had plans to put a new OS in place.
  • When asked about the impact of an attack on their organization, respondents worried most about system downtime (77 percent), data compromise/loss (68 percent) and damage to their corporate brand (52 percent). 50 percent admitted that a cyber attack would impact them financially.
  • Looking at the source of possible cyber-attacks, 61 percent of respondents cited disgruntled employees as being one of the top three most likely attackers—exceeded only by Anonymous or other hacktivists (86 percent) and cyber criminals (77 percent). These figures reflect the need to actively enforce security policies for internal staff and systems in addition to securing systems—and the important data on them—against outsider attacks.

•Date: 9th July 2014 • World •Type: Article • Topic: ISM

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