The holiday season isn’t all joy for retail stores. It’s also a time when cyber criminals redouble their efforts to attack sellers.
Below are tips for retailers to help prevent network breaches.
- Make Security Awareness Training an ongoing process for everyone in your company as well as for your third-party vendors. Last year around the holiday season, a vendor that had network access to a large big-box store was compromised due to a phishing attack. The attackers then crawled to the retail store’s network, stealing the credit card data of thousands of customers at a cost of around $148 million.[i] Since most APT attacks start with phishing, it’s important for companies and their vendors to train all employees on security awareness.
- Train employees to refrain from clicking on any links or attachments in emails without first verifying with the sender that they are safe to click on.
- Use Web content filtering and Web protection solutions to defend against threats that attack via the Web and email.
- Constantly monitor and manage your network and endpoints (laptops, workstations and servers) and configure all security devices as needed.
- Patch and update hardware and software as soon as patches become available, or create workarounds when patching them would create a problem elsewhere in your network.
- Segment your network wherever possible so that if one computer is attacked, the attacker can’t move to your most prized servers or data.
- Continually track and monitor all point-of-sale terminals.
- Routinely inspect your POS terminals and PIN-entry devices (PEDs) for anything that might be abnormal like altered seals, screws or labels.
- Prohibit the use of POS devices to conduct non-POS activities, such as browsing the Web or reading emails.
- Implement a robust Intrusion Prevention Solution (IPS) to defend against cyber threats.
- Monitor firewalls and intrusion detection/protection systems (IDS/IPS) 24/7, and provide additional security, such as host firewalls or host-based intrusion detection products, for POS terminals, Mobile POS access points, e-commerce websites and for anything else that connects to your most important servers.
- Enforce policies that forbid employees from downloading executable files via the Internet, using peer-to-peer networks, or visiting risky websites.
- Implement a Web application firewall, and make sure it is maintained and monitored continuously by a security expert.
- Scan your network and your Web applications regularly for vulnerabilities so you can detect and patch them quickly.
- Conduct regular code audits to ensure that Web applications and other software programs are written securely.
- Periodically verify that unauthorized access points and devices aren’t introduced into the cardholder data environment to be in compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requirements and to avoid threats from rogue devices.