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Unfortunately, most hackers inhabit the payment processing industry. Ironically so, as consumers grow more digitally accepting as a community, hackers and viruses evolve as well.
Though these cyberthreats can be terrifying, security experts have trademarked dozens of anti-virus packages and sound loopholes to help consumers out of these damaging and perhaps even life-threatening situations.
1. Data Breaches
Remember the Equifax security breach of 2017? Perhaps you were one of the 146 million consumers that was negatively impacted by this error. It’s possible you panicked that your Social Security Number and License information was leaked to dangerous hackers and cyber-criminals everywhere. It was and for all to see. That’s the thing that’s so scary about data breaches. Once breached, stolen data can remain in the hands of criminals forever. This creates a threat that this data can be used at any time from anywhere, even years after the incident.
This data can be used to create synthetic or false identities, by piecing information together from multiple consumers. Security experts say this is difficult to detect fraud. The files are crafted from multiple sources and one can’t pin down the origin.
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent this atrocity. One’s best course of action is likely a layered approach that includes firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems. These systems would protect against malware links in email messages and much more.
Security experts also recommend encrypting or tokenizing stored data. That being said, if hackers were to break in, sensitive data would be rendered useless.
Encryption & Tokenization
- Encryption transforms data into a cipher using an algorithm key.
- Tokenization randomly generates an alphanumeric code that replaces a credit card number. This number can only be read by the party with the key to reverse-engineer the code.
2. Application Updates
Failure to update software applications can result in cyberthreats as well. Outdated application middleware and operating systems can immediately become weakened. This makes it an easier target for hackers. When making a patch or upgrade, experts recommend that system-wide security testing be performed. It is the hope one may be able to identify any vulnerabilities that may have inadvertently occurred as a result.
3. Gone Phishing
Phishing hackers infiltrate companies by sending emails that contain malware. When opened, hackers can have access to an employee’s usernames and passwords. This is one of the first steps to data breaches. These emails can easily dupe as employees and consumers, fooling many. They can also be constructed to resemble correspondence from an HR department or a consumer’s bank. Once the link is clicked, the malware is released. Experts advise employees to run an ongoing education about phishing and how to detect a legitimate email from suspect one. Within the workplace, employees should report all questionable emails to managers.
4. Insider Threats
It’s common that disgruntled employees may act as a serious threat. Either on their own accord to through expressing vulnerability, hackers are able to sense that throughout the digital spectrum. Some of the least costly safeguards include:
- Limiting employee access to sensitive data
- Charting employee behavioral changes of workers
The best antidote is maintaining constant due diligence. By staying current with best practices to thwart an attack, payment companies can narrow the gap between protection and vulnerability.
Positioning VARs as Trusted Security Advisors
Perhaps the best way for VARs to highlight their security expertise is to take some of the burden off their merchant clients. While merchants typically don’t have much familiarity with how to both meet and maintain the industry’s security standards, VARs do. Positioning themselves as acting IT departments by advising upon security-related matters will go a long way trust-wise.