Dec 08, 2009
Point-of-sale systems, where customer credit or debit cards are swiped for payment, are one of the most frequently used computing systems in the developed world. They’re also targeted by criminals.
For instance, in 2005 attackers compromised POS systems at a Marshalls retail store and stole cardholder data. That same year, attackers stole the source code for Wal-Mart’s custom-built POS systems. No customer data was compromised, but it’s a clear indication that criminals put a bull’s-eye on POS systems.
Today, attackers have only become more sophisticated, using advanced software techniques to avoid detection by antivirus software. In the physical realm, attackers attach card-reading devices, known as skimmers, to ATMs and POS devices. When users insert their cards, skimmers copy the numbers. Thieves also attach hidden cameras along with skimmers to record PIN numbers as users type them in.