Secure Point-of-Sale System’s?


Millions of customers have been exposed to identity theft from the clients of major retail stores to online hackers and one of the biggest debates in the United States today is how to solve payment security problems. Citizens are very concerned with this ongoing issue to the point it has prompted the government to consider regulatory action. The lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee have recommended establishing federal standard requiring businesses, to notify customers in a timely manner when there has been a breach and customer’s identities have been exposed to identity theft.

When Target was faced with a breach they announced they were going to upgrade their point of sale terminals in all of their U.S stores with a deadline of; by the end of 2014. These new terminals will be compatible with the EMV card technology, which is believed to be a more secure payment card system. This will be a very expensive switch for retailers and it may not be “the fix”, but everyone will agree something has to be done.

In most identity theft cases, hackers are able to access customer’s information via point of sale (aka POS) systems, which manage the terminals where all the information is transmitted from customer to retailer with the use of a credit or debit card. These systems are prime targets for hackers and thieves. Skimmers can easily steal information at the point of sale by using a card reader or a keypad overlay which can transmit data to hackers.

This week alone retailers have spent a great deal of time answering questions before the congressional leaders in Washington about the recent security breaches that have affected millions of the United States consumers. Unfortunately, they were not able to give any solutions on how to stop security breaches. Representatives from Target and Neiman Marcus disclosed the severity of network intrusions and how their payment card information was compromised; targeting 40-million of their customers even though they invested in technology that should have protected their customer’s private data.

The White House and Congress feel that hackers will always be a step ahead of technology so they plan to push for laws to speed up disclosures. There is worry over hackers being much more sophisticated, coming up with new ways and new technique’s. It is time for law enforcement to catch these perpetrators, and assist consumers in protecting their private data from further exposure. Consumers must be made aware when their private information has been compromised along with the name of the business involved in the security breach and what they are doing to resolve the problem. It does not matter if that card number the hacker was able to retrieve has expired, the hacker still has access to other private information of the card holder. This is even more reason for laws to speed up disclosures.