Credit Cards and the Point of Sale System

The advent of credit cards, as handy as they’ve been, exposed another point of failure for dirty-doers to take advantage. An ever changing world, driven by a furious-rush of technology advancement, meant that the common thief had to up their game. Credit cards are regularly stolen by these crooks, and sold in black markets, whilst leaving no trails to lead back to them.


Each credit card is made unique by a series of numbers, often called its credit card number, engraved in its magnetic strips. If one was to unlawfully get the exact sequence of a credit card’s identification, this meant that the card would have been compromised.


There are a number of ways to get a card’s number. Numerous credit card transactions pass through database systems. This meant that credit card information has to be stored in a virtual storage somewhere. Thus making this crucial information, as vulnerable as any of the data stored in the same storage.


The most common database system attacked is the point of sale software (POS) or the software kasir toko. Most mid to large businesses often rely on POS to efficiently facilitate sales transactions. Most POS are made such that it will be able to handle all of the possible transactions including cash payments, rebates, discounts, gift cards, cheque payments as well as credit card payments. This made POS’s the most usually hit systems by credit card hackers.


The POS has evolved through the years in an effort to thwart the threat. Key improvements in the fields of cryptography, data integrity, data retrievability, and general data security helped greatly in battling credit card thieves. But regrettably, as with all computing systems, there will be no such thing as perfectly secured data and all we can do is try to get as close to it as we can.


A POS’s database must be the main security concern especially since this is where credit card information is stored. An unwanted access to the database spells doom for the system’s integrity. A requirement to guarding the database is to curtail all database access to the bare minimum. This means limiting the number of accounts that can log in the database. And in the database’s client terminals, applications should quickly and effectively close and destroy connections whenever they are no longer needed. Another requirement is to properly hide credentials to the database in front-end applications. This may include lengthy handshakes to and from remote sources as well as advanced in-memory data-masking.


As data passes from one point to another, data is vulnerable to listeners of sniffers that aims to read all incoming and outgoing data in a channel. The challenge is to make sure that the intended receiver is the only machine that will be able to interpret the message. To do this, data should be encrypted with a reasonable degree of difficulty before it is passed through. The client then has to protect the decryption ciphers to render any attempts to sniff data moot. This procedure can be done by using accepted standard secure channels of communication.


Most POS systems, and indeed systems, share many things with each other including the operating systems, run time libraries, database systems, and device firmwares. A collective of systems using similar platform to each other means that many eyes will be alert in reporting bugs and security threats. And as long as the system is up to date to the latest patches, they will be secure from all discovered loopholes. However, knowing what bugs are being fixed by the patches meant that hackers will be able to pinpoint vulnerabilities and may attack systems that are not up to date in the exposed loophole. Thus, POS systems or software kasir toko must always be updated with the latest software and firmware patches.


Many systems nowadays are winning the battle against credit card thieves. But it is still an ongoing battle and to the only way to win is to always be a step ahead.


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