According to CNBC, TechTimes, and a variety of tech-centered news sources, there is a malicious software making its way into retail POS systems and stealing sensitive information without being detected by most anti-virus software programs. The malware, referred to as “Backoff,” is part of a larger family of malware programs and has been stealing consumer information — as far as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security knows — since 2013.
Backoff allows hackers to get into POS systems and scrape memory for credit card information, keystroke logs, and other sensitive consumer data. The DHS has identified Backoff in at least three different forensic investigations. The U.S. government iswarning that this software presents the greatest risk for small businesses, and that both businesses and consumers may have data stolen, including names, credit card numbers, email addresses, mailing addresses and phone numbers.
This serious malware attack isn’t exactly new to consumers — after millions of Americans were put at risk in late 2013 when Target’s POS system was infiltrated, consumers are more wary than ever about keeping their personal information safe. As technology develops and more small businesses make transactions on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, the concern about keeping consumer information in a secure system is becoming even more prevalent in the retail industry.
“The easiest way small businesses can protect themselves is to be diligent when it comes to upgrading hardware and software on a regular basis,” says Mike Gross of Retail Management Solutions. “For example, even though Microsoft announced that they would not patch any future security flaws in their WindowsXP operating system back in April, 2014, we are still getting phone calls from customers that haven’t made this a priority and haven’t upgraded yet.”
The good news about this malware, however, is that businesses can take extra precautions to make sure that their POS system is secure — and without sacrificing time- and money-saving conveniences like mobile POS systems and paper-free sales reports.