How to Stop Ransomware From Crippling Your POS System
Ransomware has become a major threat to POS systems everywhere. With recent ransomware attacks throughout the country, it’s time to ensure that your POS system is secured against these vicious hackers. If your system isn’t properly secured, you could lose access to your business bank accounts, credit cards, and anything else connected to your POS system. Ransomware requires a payment-usually a very high one-in order for you to regain access to your information. This can be crippling for any size business, so here’s how to stop ransomware from crippling your POS.
Endpoint Threat Detection
Investing in EDR, or endpoint threat detection and response will help limit the amount of time the hacker has access to your information. This type of security ensures that the hacker won’t have time to access all of your information, minimizing the potential damage and possibly even foiling the attack altogether. Often, if hackers don’t get everything they were looking for, they’ll back out of the attack.
Your system will be monitored in real-time, so you and your security provider will know the instant an attack occurs. With an increased response time and constant monitoring, you’ll minimize the chance of an attack. Prevention is the best form of caution, and taking such measures will ensure that even if an attack occurs, it will be addressed quickly and stopped in its tracks.
Recognize an Attack ASAP
EDR is certainly a valuable tool to have, but the ability to recognize a ransomware attack on your own is also useful. Even the best POS software for mobile payment and in-store transactions isn’t immune to a ransomware attack. There are several signs of a ransomware attack, as outlined at enterprise.comodo.com:
- Scrambled file contents
- Locked terminal
- Locked Browsers
- Encrypted Files
Ransomware takes complete control of the system, disallowing access for standard users until the ransom has been met. Usually, the ransom amount is a dollar amount that will all but cripple your business financially, and if you can’t detect an attack before it begins, you could potentially fall victim to the terms of the hacker. Normally, the hacker either demands a cryptocurrency payment or even a payment via your personal or business credit cards; making agreeing to the terms incredibly risky. There’s no telling what a hacker might do with this information even after the ransomware attack, so under no circumstances is agreeing to a ransomware attack’s terms advisable.
Maintain Accurate Inventory of Digital Assets
Having a backup inventory of your digital assets that is updated on a daily basis can help minimize the damage done by ransomware and help you track any losses. You’ll want to know exactly what has been affected by the attack, and the best way to do that is to have a backup system.
Most POS systems operate on the cloud, and if your POS system is compromised, you may lose access to that storage. It’s best to download any POS system you can onto a separate physical drive at the end of each day, so you’ll have an accurate backup of your information to work with in case of an attack.
Train Your Staff
Equally as important as training yourself to spot an attack is to train your staff to recognize one as well. Be sure to go over the possible signs of a ransomware attack with your employees and train them on what to do in the event of an attack. Employees should not communicate with the hacker or agree to any terms to regain access to the system.
In fact, if an attack occurs, it’s best to have your employees stop what they’re doing and not use the terminal until the problem is addressed. A panicked employee could potentially act out of fear and agree to something that could be detrimental to your business’s finances.
Employees are your first line of defense against ransomware, considering they’re the ones that use the system on a daily basis. Be sure to take any issues they may have seriously, especially if those issues seem like they match ransomware symptoms.
Security Service Providers
Your POS provider has taken all of the necessary steps to minimize the chance of an attack, but sometimes, working with a third-party security company is a good idea to provide an extra level of protection. Security companies can monitor your system in real-time, and minimize or completely avoid any damages due to a ransomware attack. If working with a cybersecurity company is in your company’s budget, you may want to consider investing in such a service to secure your data.
Ransomware can cripple a business entirely, but by taking these few simple steps towards increasing your security and awareness, you can minimize or eliminate the effect of a ransomware attack and further secure your system against future attacks. Remember that awareness is half the battle, and employees should be aware of the symptoms of an attack as well.