Hackers Attacks on Retail Threaten All of Us

November 20, 2014 | By Natasha Devotta
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Hackers Attacks on Retail Threaten All of UsHackers have had many rich targets to focus on since the dawn of the computer age and the burgeoning world of electronic commerce. Originally, criminal hackers’ targeted internal system and huge storage servers. More recently, they have launched all too successful attacks on large high profile retailers. In the process, millions of ordinary consumers have been victimized, having their personal and financial information looted.

Hackers are skilled at injecting malware onto the cash registers or Point of Sale terminals (POS terminals) used by all retail businesses. Hence there is less work for the hackers as they just have to initiate the infection through a common medium and attacking the retailers effortlessly.

On gaining access, the hackers infuse a RAM scraper that captures all the information like name, addresses, transaction details and so on from the credit/debit card that are saved in the magnetic stripe that is found at the back of all the cards when a swiping is done.

Once the information about the credit/debit card is captured through a magnetic swipe, the thieves find a way to create fake credit/debit cards which includes extra security information that is not available if they possess only the credit card number.

This further allows them to steal information that it offers a great deal of money on the black market. Criminals can totally get a good deal that is worth tens of millions of cards and hence make a full use of the derived benefits.

According to the US Department of Homeland Security, the Backoff POS malware was responsible for 1,000 enterprises having been infected as of this August.

The Secret Service has found that most of the breaches are occurring through tools that permit the access at a remote level. The remote access tools from Google, Apple, Microsoft and LogMeIn are being utilized by means of attacks that perform a brutal force. These brutal forces uses tremendous attacks through password guessing, that allows anyone who uses the tool to get victimized

Remote access tools are known to be more productive both in professional and personal grounds. While using these tools, the user should be extra cautious, some of the tips below might help you reduce the level of exposure to these hackers: Unnecessary remote access tools should be turned off.

  •  Use of Passwords should be wise with a minimum length of 15 characters or more and also with a combination of letters, special characters and numbers. This will make the brutal force hacking more time consuming.
  • Switch on the Intrusion detection system and also make use of the two factor authentication as and when needed.
  • Implementation of non-standard port settings to divert the known defaults
  • Choice of antivirus  for Windows 8 play an important role, use an antivirus software that stays updated on the latest virus definitions and new threats, hence protecting the system from the latest threats.
  • Have a check on your system if it slows down, which is often a trait only when the system is infected.
  • Remote access can be replaced by the VPN (Virtual Private Network) for a better and high end security solution.
  • All businesses should follow the protocol of the IT vendor or the IT departments they rely on, as it helps you to stick to a certain set of security standards and also to ensure whether the technical issues are reviewed.
  • Implementation of a proper and advanced formula of Firewall, hence helping the system to prevent the entry of viruses.
  • Performing Penetration Tests and Vulnerability Scans on a regular basis
  • Web Content Filtering should be done by the retailers to protect the system from Downloader Trojan attacks and Web-Exploit Kit,
  • Retailers should ensure that they keep their security software up to date and also obtain a centralized plan for fixing software patches instantly.
  • Retailers should make use of certain policies that restricts the employees from downloading certain executable files through the internet and also from entering suspicious websites.

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