Complete Guide On How Cryptography Is Implemented On POS Terminals

When we are talking about the security POS terminals and machines, we need to mention the need for cardholder data and magnetic tapes. Your card’s magnetic tape can be simple to look at, but it is something that holds critical information of both the bank and the card holder in it.

Cryptographic solutions are needed in places where information has to be protected or hidden. When someone says cryptography, the first thing that comes to your mind is about a spy who sends critical data to his homeland from the enemy country.

It is not enough if someone just uses a certain set of security protocol in order to protect the data. They have to be applied correctly to both the software and the hardware, so that the contents of the data are never compromised at any costs.

POS terminals consist of critical information that involves the payment details. In simple words, the user data must never be compromised and there should not be a single transaction that has taken place without the user’s knowledge. In POS terminals there are three collections of cryptographic algorithms that work collectively with different types of architectures. These algorithms have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Depending upon the security level that’s required, one of the following algorithms are implemented.

Asymmetric Key Algorithms

In this type of algorithm there are two keys. One is private and the other is public. One key cannot be used for both encrypting and decrypting the information. These two keys are generated simultaneously. The private key is the one that is used in order to protect the information, while the public key is used for writing the information. You can understand this easily with the help of an example. When A sends a message to B, A encrypts the message with the use of B’s public key. B uses his own private key in order to decrypt and extract the message.

Symmetric Key Algorithm

In this type of algorithm, the same key is used for both decrypting and encrypting the data. They are fast, but less secure when compared to the asymmetric key algorithm.

One Way Hash Algorithms

The best part of using this algorithm in cryptography is that it is easy to calculate, and are great in protecting passwords and other sensitive information. So there is something called hash value, which if you forget, is very difficult to regenerate the original input.

There is one thing that matters the most when it comes to encryption algorithms. The bigger the size of the algorithm the better. You might of heard of hackers doing something known as brute force attack that tests all the possibilities before penetrating a secure set of algorithms.

This is the main reason why the algorithm is preferred to be bigger. There are a lot of powerful computers that are available today that can check a large number of possibilities as quickly as possible, compared to other normal computers.

Initially when POS devices were introduced into the market, they had the least amount of security—this made criminals easily penetrate into the system and steal the customer data.

The types of the POS terminals that are used today are becoming more diverse, and they have become compact and modular. Since there is a new advancement in technology everyday, the sophistication and the security of POS systems are increasing day by day.

Here are some of the ways in which criminals tamper into POS terminals, so that you can stay safe.

  •      Most of the popular POS Systems have security stickers that are placed over the screw holes that detect tampering. There are criminals who take of these stickers and change it to their own ones.
  •       There could be skimming devices that are concealed inside the POS terminals, which cannot be seen by cardholders and merchants.
  •       There is something known as keyloggers that can record keystrokes, and this in turn can expose your ATM pin.
  •       Many criminals enter the merchant’s store posing themselves as POS terminal service engineers and tamper with the system. Always allow only authorized personnel who have valid identification cards to operate the POS system.

Shopify POS System

Shopify is one of the best ecommerce solution provider for your store. Apart from developing your website for you, this Canadian company also provides a wide range of POS tools for retail businesses that help in boosting sales and efficiency.

These tools come with a high level of inbuilt security, which provides security to an extent. You can use POS terminals from Shopify that are easy to use also secure at the same time!

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