5 checkpoints for signs of a payment card data breach
News reports of a new payment card data breach have become commonplace. No business wants to be the name in the latest headline, but a payment card data breach is a possibility faced by any business. Following best practices established the PCI standards and other security measures can help you be aware and more prepared. Here are some check points to be thoughtful about:
1. Unexpected outgoing internet traffic—check
- Unauthorized file sharing from your point-of-sale or payments system is one indicator that it is/has been accessed for inappropriate use. See suspicious activity, say something right away. Contact your IT professional immediately.
- Modification or deletion of data from those same systems is another indicator. Again, see something, say something.
- Be familiar with what legitimate, routine activity within your point-of-sale system looks like, so you're mindful of scenarios that don't make sense.
2. Unexpected software that launches at the time of system start up—check
- Ever had a computer virus? Those warning signs: slow start up, multiple programs running simultaneously, memory drain, and programs opening and closing at will. Your computer may have even frozen up completely or turned off at random as well. If similar things happen with a point-of-sale system, get help right away.
- Running a Microsoft-based operating system? Check the Windows registry settings for hidden software.
3. Unexplained new user accounts—check
- See a new, unexplained or unrecognized user account(s)? If there are new users that you didn’t authorize, check them immediately.
- Be on the lookout for after-hours activity on your systems, Check for event log modifications or failed log in attempts to the system.
4. Anti-virus operating properly—check
- You strengthen your point-of-sale and payments system when anti-intrusion measures such as anti-virus protection is working properly.
5. See unknown peripheral devices—check
- Many a device, including ATMs, have been tampered with through additions such as card skimming devices. Always inspect the physical space surrounding your point-of-sale and payments systems or networks. Look for unusual, potentially unauthorized, USB devices, card skimming devices, or other equipment or connections that just don’t look right. See something, contact your IT professional.
Still not sure you’re willing or able to tackle these steps alone? Consider utilizing a PCI compliance and security products and services offered by providers that can help you strengthen the integrity of your point-of-sale and payments environment. Or ask your security or IT professional to check your system and verify that you are processing securely.