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E-Commerce – Is it safer than retail?

E-Commerce or retail: which is better for data security? I just published a post on Linkedin where I take a look at recent POS malware-based security breaches – Target, Home Depot, Dairy Queen, Jimmy John’s, Goodwill Stores, K-Mart… The list seems to go on and on. In essence, the proliferation of web-connected point of sale (POS) systems – those checkout machines that suggest related products, offer discounts on future purchases, and more – has gone up like  flare announcing “easy pickin’s!” for sophisticated hackers.

In fact, these POS systems often utilize run-of-the-mill Windows operating systems vulnerable to a variety of attack vectors, including one that’s been available to the public since 2012 (called BlackPOS, developed by a Russian teenager). There have also been 3rd party payment system breaches – like the one that impacted Goodwill stores for around 18 months. Stolen data ranges from an identity thief’s dream haul (names, addresses, payment info, and more) to “only” payment card data – but “only” payment card data would still let a criminal “clone” your credit card.

Combine these digital vulnerabilities at your local grocery checkout with physical ones like increasingly advanced “skimmers” made to capture your credit card info as you swipe it, and a lot of people are growing increasingly nervous shopping retail – and perhaps more confident online than in-store.

E-commerce developers like Atlantic BT have been security-focused for years – the public has demanded it. Can brick-and-mortar retailers catch up? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Atlantic BT Manifesto

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