There isn’t anything quite like having your go-to website, channel, etc., go out of service just when you’re ready to kick back and surf the internet, watch Mad Men, or stalk people on Facebook. As hackers become ever more tech-savvy and consequently decide to disrupt Americans’ favorite guilty pastimes, it’s important to be mindful of the actual threat(s) cyberhackers pose. While it may not mean so much to lose a half an hour of Tweeting or pinning Tiffany’s Great Gatsby jewelry and 90s-era Birkin bags on Pinterest, it’s more of a problem when your Bank of America account is compromised by North Koreans or when your POS software is breached to steal “secure” credit card information.
What’s the problem?
Certain privacy breaches are more harmful than others. We all know we wouldn’t want the best POS software accessed by online hackers whose sole purpose is to siphon off credit card numbers from unsuspecting restaurant or retail customers. Similarly, there is a reason we have to input our mother’s maiden names when we attempt to access secure sites from other people’s computers. However, many privacy intrusions are looked upon with indifference by the majority of American consumers. What is Facebook’s currency, after all? Think about it. We don’t pay for Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Until recently, we weren’t even subjected to the Gmail-esque targeted ads coercing me, successfully, to buy Whitney Houston memorabilia right at the top of my inbox. The lesson here is that information is currency. We knowingly, willingly give away our personal information in exchange for free access to Hillary Clinton and Kobe Bryant’s Twitter feed.
Safe and secure
So, keeping in mind that perhaps the most successful POS software corporations don’t have the capabilities of securing all of our personal information, what can we do to keep ourselves (and our virtual selves) safe? David Pogue recently reported on (in glowing terms) a new password-keeping service called Dashlane. While this isn’t the only service one can opt for, it is indeed helpful to have a secure, encrypted, password protector in place for all websites we access. Further, while this may sound like an added pain, it helps to enable two-step identifiers when applicable (e.g., the aforementioned BofA account or even Gmail accounts). This will allow the service to send a code to your iPhone in order for you to log in, thus rendering a remote hacker useless.
POS software users should take the necessary steps to assure that they too are not caught off guard.
- Finding intuitive POS software that encrypts all information (so if there is a virus attack, all the hacker will obtain is useless data).
- Safeguarding sensitive data through PCI compliance.
- Seeking out POS software bundles that are isolated from other networks.
- Ensuring that their software speeds up the customer service process and comes engineered to work with hardware that cannot easily be infected with more traditional malware.