Technology’s role in the dining industry is more powerful than ever. This is mostly a good thing: streamlining operations, increasing efficiency, and ultimately making it much easier to run a restaurant or bar. But with technology comes a disturbing modern problem: threats to cybersecurity.
Types of Cybercrime
Credit and debit card theft is one of the earliest forms of cybercrime, and it continues to persist today. At the high crime levels, criminal hacking gangs organize and execute sophisticated cyber theft, often by accessing the online databases of major companies. Two of the biggest cyber thefts in 2019 were:
- Facebook User Data Breach. An estimated 540 million Facebook records were exposed, as reported in April 2019. Later the same month Facebook admitted that more than a million user’s emails had been leaked.
- Capital One Breach. More than 100 million user accounts and credit card applications had been hacked, as was reported in March. The hacker had accessed more than 100,000 social security numbers, and many other related information.
Here are the current top five cyber threats that you should be aware of:
The Ransom Malware Attack
Another security breach took placed two weeks ago: A malware called Ransom affected 57,000 computers worldwide. Convincing spam emails were sent out with attachments disguised as job offers, invoices, or other “legitimate” documents. Once opened, the malware infiltrated the computer, shutting it down. A message then appeared on the screen, demanding payment—between $300 and $600—for the user to regain access.
Cyber Theft Malware Targets Windows Users
Shadow Brokers leaked software that the NSA also used. It’s called Eternal Blue, and officials believe it has already been picked up by crime families. Eternal Blue is a powerful malware that would allow anyone to wreak havoc on any computer. Microsoft has already devised new updates to protect Windows users from that potential catastrophe.
Restaurant Point of Sale and Cyber Safety
Not only are consumer dining choices influenced by new technology, but cloud-based point-of-sale systems are replacing stationary legacy systems. For the first time, restaurants and bars have convenient operating systems and secure methods for accepting credit and debit card payments.
Affordability and ease of use have made new mobile POS systems popular, but what makes them invaluable are their increased security levels. Encryption, tokenization, and EMV chip card technology in mPOS (mobile point of sale) allow restaurant owners to rest easy. On legacy systems, on the other hand, local credit card storing poses a real security risk. Point-of-sale malware has been one of the biggest sources of stolen credit and debit card information since 2005. Cybercriminals have become savvier over the years, to the point where POS malware kits have been built for sale.
To combat the growing threat of cybercrime, credit card security technologies also advanced—for instance, by implementing chip technology. Yet there are still gaps in the security of many POS systems, putting retailers, restaurants, and bars at risk of a data breach if using Windows operation systems.
Apple-Based POS Systems Prove to Be the Safest Option
To date, no Apple-based POS system has been hacked. To maintain its unsurpassed security measures, Apple has strict requirements. To read about Sandbox and Apple’s three-part security certification for any application, visit this link.
Apple’s iOS is renowned for having an iron-clad security system that prevents hacking and malware invasions. As computer-security specialist Brian Krebs noted in the Washington Post, “An investigative series I’ve been writing about organized cyber crime gangs stealing millions of dollars from small to mid-sized businesses have generated more than a few responses from business owners who were concerned about how best to protect themselves from this type of fraud. The simplest, most cost-effective answer I know of? Don’t use Microsoft Windows when accessing your bank account online.”
An iPad-based point-of-sale system is not just easy to use at your restaurant, but it’s also an incomparable way to protect your business from cyber theft.
Restaurants are increasingly targeted by identity thieves and hackers because POS systems and security practices are as diverse as the restaurant industry itself. There are huge disparities between restaurants with airtight security practices and those with lax or non-existent protocols.
Simple Ways to Boost Your Restaurant Cybersecurity Practices
Even if you’re unfamiliar with some cybersecurity basics, you can still take immediate steps to improve the security of your restaurant’s payment processing and other digital interactions with your customers’ valuable data. Let’s get started!