Restaurant chain Sonic Drive-In is the latest victim to a cyberattack, with potentially millions of customer credit and debit cards being sold in online black markets.

National chain restaurant Sonic Drive-In was recently the victim of a cyberattack that resulted in the potential theft of millions of stolen debit and credit card accounts from the company's POS card processing terminals.

The breach was initially investigated by Brian Krebs, former investigative reporter for the Washington Post and owner of cybersecurity news site Krebs On Security, which broke the story on Sept. 17.

According to his report, multiple financial institutions told Krebs about multiple financial institutions that a pattern of fraudulent transactions stemming from cards used at some of the 3,500 nationwide Sonic Drive-In locations. Upon further investigation, he found that many cards previously used at the restaurant appeared on the site Joker's Stash, a black market hub that allows criminals to buy card information stolen from unsuspecting consumers. The swiped data can then be copied onto blank cards and used freely and fraudulently.

The stolen accounts were categorized by their geographic locations. Offenders could then purchase cards stolen from people that lived near them to avoid an anti-fraud provision which flags or blocks suspicious transactions occurring in locations distant from the card holder's address.

Point of sale processors targeted for customer account information

"Hackers targeted the restaurant's payment processors by remotely spamming terminals."

Krebs notified the company of his findings and a representative provided him with a statement.

The statement noted that during the week prior, the company's credit card processor informed them of suspicious activity occurring with credit cards used to make purchases at the restaurant. Law enforcement and a third-party forensics team was then contacted following the news. During these investigations, policing agencies limited the amount of information the company was able to disclose, but it said it would provide details when they were able. 

Sonic then released public statement on Oct. 4 officially acknowledging the data breach. The announcement said the company was still working with authorities and offered free fraud protection to affected customers, but had no additional information on which stores were affected and how many cards were compromised.

Hackers targeted the restaurant's payment processors by remotely spamming terminals with malware, which copied customer account data stored on a card's magnetic strip. According to Nation's Restaurant News, the company recently installed new POS processing systems at 77 percent of its locations. The updated technology was meant to reduce costs and replace the previous Micros Oracle platform, which was over 30 years old. It is still unclear whether the data theft occurred through the new processing units or ones the company has yet to replace.

It's important that companies have the most up-to-date payment processing software available to reduce the chances of falling prey to attacks by malicious hackers. The more secure a payment system is, the more secure customer and company data is.

To learn more about implementing effective credit processing software, get in touch with 911 Software today.

Gas stations slow to implement EMV technology may experience credit card skimming at their pumps, as the criminal trend is increasing.

The deadline for gas stations to implement EMV technology was originally set for October. However, in December 2016, Visa and Mastercard announced they would push the deadline back by three years.

The deadline's extension came as a result of gas station operators expressing their frustrations because they would not be able to fully implement EMV systems into their pumps in time, according to Bloomberg. Many older pumps would need to be wholly replaced, and removed from their concrete bases. The estimated cost to replace these pumps is $30,000 per gas station.

"Criminals have increasingly replicated customer cards with magnetic strips"

High costs being paid by customers for lack of EMV technology

The costs involved with EMV implementation, and its delay, affect not only gas station operators but banks and customers as well.

EMV cards create a unique code for each transaction, making credit and debit cards much more secure than their magnet based counterparts, which have a set code that can be easily duplicated. reported, criminals have increasingly replicated customer cards with magnetic strips at pump stations using what are known as skimming devices. Thieves attach one or sometimes multiple illegal gadgets to the internal computing systems and POS card processing terminals at gas pumps. Once installed, the inconspicuous devices copy card information from each transaction at the pump and store it on a microchip that someone comes back to retrieve.

In more recent cases, criminals have used skimmers that wirelessly send card information to a mobile device via Bluetooth or SMS text, making it so that no one needs to fetch the equipment, according to Krebs On Security.

Fueling stations in particular make for easy targets because most pumps have not yet been fitted with EMV technology and they are used by scores of customers throughout the day.

"The devices are being found at small merchants, large merchants, urban, rural, new and old convenience stores, so nobody is exempt," said Kara Gunderson, point-of-sale manager for Citgo Petrolum Corp., to

Until the gas station EMV implementation deadline is surpassed in 2020, banks are responsible for covering any stolen funds from the use of magnetic strip cards. After the cutoff date, reimbursement falls in the hands of the station from which the theft originated.

The longer it takes gas stations to transition from magnetic strip readings to EMV technology, the more opportunities criminals have to take advantage of their customers.

To learn more about implementing effective credit processing software, get in touch with 911 Software today.

Store and Forward allows your business to continue accepting card payments in nearly any circumstance.

Merchants just like you work hard to engage customers, bring them into your storefront and capture sales. There's plenty of time and effort involved in every aspect of managing your business and convincing customers to make purchases. The last thing you want to deal with is a situation where a customer who is ready, willing and able to pay for a purchase can't do so because your card processing software can't connect to the internet and complete the transaction.

How can businesses deal with this potentially frustrating situation that can easily lead to both lost sales and upset shoppers? A payment processing software that can securely capture payment details and store them until the connection is re-established is a major benefit.

Store and Forward keeps businesses running smoothly

"Store and Forward means your business can always accept payments."

When your payment solution can't connect to the internet, there's no convenient or effective way to immediately process a payment and send a customer on his or her way. The alternatives are simply to say you can't make the sale, or have credit card payment software in place that can pass the information along, maintaining informational security throughout the process, once the connection is restored.

In many ways, this is an easy decision for merchants to make. There's no reason to turn down a shopper's intended purchase and send them away empty-handed if an alternative is in reach. Store and Forward is just such an option, one important element of the many advantages 911 Software offers to the businesses with which it partners.

The functionality is simple – the information necessary to process the payment is held until it can be sent along – but its value can't be overlooked. Whether there's a technical issue for your business or internet service provider, a partial power outage, or a physical problem with a hardwired connection, modem or router, Store and Forward keeps revenue coming in and customers happy.

This simple addition to credit card processing software provides an immediate benefit and, perhaps more importantly, a sense of security. Knowing your business can always accept payments – and do so regardless of nearly any other external factor – means resting assured in your ability to confidently complete transactions. It also means sending customers out the door with their purchases in hand and smiles on their faces.

Some of the most compelling reasons behind EMV involve statistics. Let's take a look at a few important numbers surrounding the transition to EMV today.

EMV compliance is still a hot topic in the retail and financial services industry. Some organizations have yet to make the transition, and with consumers across the country holding EMV-compliant chip cards, now is the time to adopt this technology.

Some of the most compelling reasons behind EMV involve statistics. Let's take a look at a few important numbers surrounding the transition to EMV today:

9.9 percent CAGR: An expanding market

According to a new report from Market Research Hub, the global EMV point-of-sale terminal market is on track to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 9.9 percent through 2021. This growth is spurred not only by the push toward EMV compliance and adoption of EMV technology, but by contactless payments as well.

"It is well known that today's payment industry is ever-changing and with the increased penetration of contactless payments by consumers, payment gateways and network providers are adopting payment mechanisms involving cards which have become a key trend for market growth," Market Research Hub noted.

Contactless payments have contributed to growth in the EMV technology market. Contactless payments have contributed to growth in the EMV technology market.

600 million chip cards issued reported that more than 600 million chip cards have been issued thus far to American consumers. This includes 77 percent of credit cards and 38 percent of debit cards issued by September 2016.

2 million POS terminals

Today, only an approximate 38 percent of retailers are able to process EMV payments with the 2 million EMV-compliant POS terminals currently in place in the U.S. This means that there are still an estimated 15 million terminals in need of an upgrade, according to 

42 percent of retailers

Surprisingly, there are still some retailers that don't believe in the security benefits of EMV payment process. In fact, Ingram Micro Advisor reported that 42 percent do believe that EMV will make a difference in fraud protection, and the same amount do not.

"Hackers are now having a harder time creating knock-off payment cards."

For those still doubting the advantages of EMV, there are a few crucial things to understand. In addition to the chip itself, customers also enter their PIN for each transaction, further reducing the chances of fraudulent activity. EMV chips are much more secure than magnetic strips, and are much harder for cybercriminals to breach and reproduce. This means that hackers are now having a harder time creating knock-off payment cards with stolen credentials, reducing overall cases of fraud.

60 percent reduction in fraud

Proving the security benefits of EMV is this statistic released from Mastercard. The financial service provider found that fraud has been decreased by 60 percent in terms of dollars among the top five EMV-compliance merchants, PYMNTS reported.

EMV adoption is still underway, and there is no better time to make the switch than now.

The official liability shift isn't the only reason to put EMV payment processing in place. Your customers will appreciate it as well!

It has been over a year since the official EMV liability shift took place. The deadline, October 2015, signaled that businesses and retailers that don't have EMV in place will be liable for the costs of fraud, and not the financial institutions that support customer payment cards.

This was a big deal for the retail industry, as well as for any company that accepts credit and debit card payments. The shift represented the push that many organizations needed to invest in upgraded, EMV compliant point-of-sales systems.

And while adoption is still underway, there's one more factor to consider here: your customers. The official liability shift isn't the only reason to put EMV payment processing in place. Your customers will appreciate it as well! Let's take a look at just a few of the reasons consumers will thank you for enabling them to use their chip payment cards:

Dip or swipe?: Eliminate confusion once and for all

By now, we've all been on the receiving end of this situation: You approach the register, ready to pay for your merchandise. The cashier tells you your total, but when it comes time to pay, you see that the payment terminal accepts both swipe or dip, EMV-supported transactions. So should you swipe your card, as usual, or use the new dip slot for your EMV chip?

"Customers will thank you for eliminating the awkward confusion that can take place at checkout."

According to CBS, this scenario is more common than ever, and can be incredibly frustrating for customers. Currently, there are 5 million EMV-compliant payment terminals at American retail stores, but only 1 million of those accept chip payments.

If your store is EMV ready, you may have to coach your customers for their first few transactions ("Feel free to insert your card into the chip reader at the bottom of the terminal instead of swiping."), but eventually, they'll catch on. And they'll thank you for eliminating the awkward confusion that can take place at checkout.

Ensuring security: A step forward for data protection

Most customers are beginning to understand the need for more secure, EMV chip cards. Besides receiving information about the new chip feature from their bank or financial service provider, many consumers have heard stories about point-of-sales malware, retailers under attack by cybercriminals and the potential that exists for compromised customer payment cards.

EMV chip cards provide added security over magnetic strip payments. EMV chip cards provide added security over magnetic strip payments.

For these reasons, providing support for EMV payment card processes can signal your business's commitment to your clients' data security. While many card holders know that EMV chip cards are safer and can help better protect their personal information, they may not know the details behind the new payment processing technology, and that's OK. But you'll know that by accepting EMV chip cards, you're helping to put in place a multipronged payment card security system that seeks to eliminate fraud. According to EMV Connection, EMV boosts the security of payments by authenticating the card itself, the cardholder, as well as the individual transaction, and it makes it nearly impossible to duplicate a card for counterfeit activity.

Overall, EMV payment processes has much to offer today's retailers and service providers. Although the shift in liability is as good a reason as any to make the transition, the appreciate of your customers is another compelling factor to keep in mind.

Now is the time to transition to an EMV payment card processing system.

For the past few months, EMV-compliant payment card processing has been a main focus for retailers across the U.S. With the deadline for transition passing last fall, many merchants are in a hurry to ensure their compliance, and boost security for their customers.

However, EMV wasn't the first security system to be put in place in respects to payment cards. Today, we'll take a brief walk down memory lane, and examine the technologies that led up to this crucial new payment processing technology.

Analog and electronic: The early years

Before the 1950s, the main form of payment was cash. Retailers only had to worry about stocking their registers with enough bills and coins to provide change. By 1959, though, all this changed with the emergence of plastic payment cards. Security measures like the signature panel on the back of the card, embossing and microprint wouldn't come until the 1970s.

The next major developments were made in the mid 1980s, when real-time electronic authorizing was made available in 1985. This was followed in 1990 by the Card Verification Value (CVV) security code, which was used on magnetic strip cards as an extra security precaution.

Plastic payment cards were first introduced nearly 58 years ago. Plastic payment cards were first introduced nearly 58 years ago.

The birth of EMV

According to Visa and and EMVCo, the first EMV security was first widely introduced in 1994 when major financial institutions – Visa, Europay and Mastercard – provided specifications for card chips. According to Visa, this development actually occurred one year previous to the use of PINs at points-of-sale to help better safeguard cardholders.

EMV technology became instrumental in France in 1994, when every bank in the country began supporting chip card specifications for payment.

"Through issuing chip cards with PINs, the French were able to dramatically reduce fraud due to counterfeit, lost and stolen cards," Chase stated in a whitepaper.

Following its success in France, chip card technology then spread across Europe, with card holders and financial institutions enjoying reduced card security issues alongside more staunch payment card processing protection.

"Now is the time to transition to an EMV payment card processing system."

The push for EMV chip cards became a prime focus in the U.S. in 2015, when a deadline was put in place to signal a shift in liability. By October of that year, every retailer that hadn't upgraded its payment card processing technology to an EMV-compliant system was liable for fraudulent activity.

Transitioning to EMV

Despite a shift in liability, some retailers still haven't put EMV-compliant payment card processing technology in place. In fact, Business Insider reported that only 7 percent of all card transactions in 2016 were made through EMV point-of-sales systems. By comparison, chip cards contributed to 75 percent of all transactions in Europe, 89 percent in Africa and the Middle East and 88 percent of card purchases in Canada over the same time period. 

In order to best safeguard against fraudulent payment card activity and offer the strongest available protection for your customers, now is the time to transition to an EMV payment card processing system.

EMV chip card processors will likely get faster in 2017.

Although EMV cards offer enhanced security for retailers and consumers, some have noticed it takes a little while longer to process payments.

Retailers around the country have adopted EMV chip credit card processors to shield themselves from liability if fraud should occur. These cards offer significant protection against fraud during card-present transactions, but some people have complained about a slightly increased wait time at the checkout counter.

EMV cards do take a little bit longer to process because chip cards transmit an encrypted code that changes with every new transaction, Petoskey News Reported. Although these transactions typically only take a few seconds longer to finish than a swipe purchase, many customer have not been shy about voicing their displeasure with the increased wait time.

Because of EMV cards, the average consumer will spend an additional five-and-a-half hours in the checkout line in 2016, according to a report from payment processing company Cayan. Altogether customers will spend an extra 116 million hours in line due to EMV delays, the source noted. But the slower checkout times have less to do with EMV technology itself and more to do with the nature of a particular business, according to Banking Exchange.

"If you are in a fast-paced, high volume market, a slow speed of transaction will be a detrimental part of it," Sherif Samy, managing director of transaction security operations at Underwriters Laboratory, told Banking Exchange. "If you are in a merchant environment and you would like a dialog with the consumer, then it is less critical. We can't generalize EMV speed of transactions."

Visa and Mastercard – two major companies pushing for EMV adoption – announced earlier this year that were working on technology improvements that should reduce the amount of time it takes to complete an EMV payment. 

EMV card adoption should grow steadily in 2017.

Although it seems like EMV cards are all over the place, there is still a long way to go.

That's according to new data from EMVCo., which shows that the U.S. significantly lags behind other regions in the world when it comes to EMV card adoption. Overall, card-present EMV transactions accounted for 7 percent of purchases in the U.S. in 2016, according to Business Insider. In other areas of the world, EMV card usage is much more widespread. EMV purchases account for at least 75 percent of transactions in Europe, 88 percent in Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and 89 percent in Africa and the Middle East.

Despite the slow adoption of EMV in the U.S., the 7 percent rate is a vast improvement from the 0.26 percent usage rate in 2015. And experts are confident that EMV will grow exponentially in the States this year for a variety of reasons.

The main one is that the deadline for fraud liability to shift from banks to retailers if they don't use EMV chip card readers has passed in most industries. This means that many retailers will be on the hook for potentially huge amounts of money if they don't make the transition to EMV technology and credit card fraud occurs at their store.

Experts note that it hasn't been too long since the October 2015 deadline, which means some retailers are still in the process of upgrading their machines and some banks are still distributing EMV-enabled cards to their consumers. As this process moves along, EMV usage in the U.S. should rise, according to Business Insider. As of the third quarter of 2016, only 49 percent of small businesses had upgraded their card processors to accept EMV cards, according to a Wells Fargo survey.

Retailers on are on the front lines of combating credit card fraud.

Credit card fraud is becoming more popular with gang members.

Twelve members of the Hoodstarz gang from Brooklyn, New York were charged with running a credit card fraud scheme, according to The Wall Street Journal. The members manufactured more than 700 fake credit cards, using stolen personal information they hacked from the internet, the source reported.

Using the fake cards the gang members spent nearly $2,000 on concert tickets, paid cab drivers, bought food and spent $700 at the American Girl doll store, The Wall Street Journal reported. Brooklyn authorities told the paper that the gang members were testing the boundaries of the stolen cards before moving on to buy other items such as guns to facilitate gang-related activity.

"We're all too familiar with the cost of violent crime in our community," Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez told The Wall Street Journal. "I think we might be less familiar with the cost of these financial crimes. We now understand that our fight against violent crime requires us to tackle financial fraud as well."

There are several things retailers can do to help prevent fraud before it gets out of hand. Here is a list of suspicious activity retailers should keep an eye out for when making credit card transactions.

  • A customer is making seemingly random purchases without considering the price of the items.
  • If a customer makes a purchase and the name on the receipt doesn't match the name on the credit card they swiped.
  • One of the biggest warning signs of fraud is if a person cannot provide matching identification to the card they are using to pay for their items.

It is important for retailers to invest in a high-quality card payment processor because a store's liability increases if credit card information is entered manually rather than through a point-of-sale machine, according to Loss Prevention Media.

A hotel-related breach may have affected some cardholders.

Business owners and hotel managers may have unrealistic ideas of POS security threats. Though it can sometimes seem like the danger arises all at once, in reality, hackers can inject malware into a system and cause lasting damage for long periods of time. Hutton Hotel recently announced a possible breach in a special notice to its customers.

According to this statement, the Nashville, Tennesee-based business is now taking greater steps to safeguard data, including working with multiple payment processing devices. The source grouped possible victims into two categories.

Customers who used payment cards at the hotel's food and beverage outlets may be at risk if they made purchases between either September 19, 2012 and January 15 , 2016, or from August 12, 2015 to June 10, 2016. By comparison, hotel users were only included in one range, between September 19, 2012 and April 16, 2015.

The criminals in this case used software to possibly compromise the hotel's payments processor and obtain user data, including account numbers, card expiration dates and verification codes. Hutton assured customers that it would monitor possibly affected cards closely.

This is only one of multiple recent instances of hotels targeted by criminals. At the end of August, the Credit Union Times reported a breach for Millennium Hotels & Resorts North America that included 5,000 cards maximum across the United States. The same article also mentioned Noble House Hotels and Resorts, another chain reacting to card-related problems.

Using verified card processing software can make hospitality businesses feel better about their own security status, and also please an increasingly wary customer base. Contact us to learn more.

The POS can help with simple in-store experiences.

Overhauling the POS in use can change the customer experience at a merchant's store. As the potential center of so many operations, it can be the beginning of multiple different programs and necessary tasks.

In some cases, a new approach to credit card payment software can be faster, leaner and less distracting than the previous one. According to Dallas Business Journal, J.C. Penney is taking on something called "Project Simple," which will try to refocus the store's efforts more directly on the customer experience. The effort also eliminates extraneous elements affecting the business side, such as redundant emails or unnecessary customer visits.

Executive Vice President of Stores Joe McFarland told the source that the new plan is to spend more time on shoppers and less on the operational tasks that take up time and resources.

"Going forward, we'll have a very simple vision around what we do," he said. "We'll remove complexity from the stores and we'll simply push that to our home office," McFarland said. "You have my commitment: we are going to stop doing things that don't focus on the customer."

Retailers can use this sort of improvement to give their customer base a reason to choose in-store interactions. Instead of seeming less convenient than shopping online, smart stores can bring all of the benefits of digital ordering to their locations with an updated POS.

A NerdWallet article gave examples of some of the innovations coming to the brick-and-mortar retail shop, including kiosks and mobile-friendly locations. Shoppers may be ready for these enhancements because they are increasingly familiar with mobile technology in their own lives.

Find payment processor software that will be flexible and effective for easy updates with 911 Software's CreditLine.

What are consumers most concerned about when they make a card payment?

If you have strong credit processing software, your business may feel prepared for shopper-intensive seasons. However, there are specific reasons consumers might decide to use their credit cards for their own benefit. Once you take a closer look, you may realize that your current POS system isn't actually PCI compliant or the right method for your customer base.

For example: Are you expecting travelers from other countries at your in-store locations? Wise Bread recently featured an article on the best methods for using credit cards during travel, and businesses that pay attention to them could know something about how their clientele are likely to spend. Some of these recommendations include credit, not debit, and avoid cards that carry fees for foreign transactions.

Another trend to be aware of is the way EMV cards are used around the world. While Americans may criticize this form of payment, it has been more normalized in other countries. Last year, ZDNet noted that the U.S. shifted to embrace this format relatively late compared to other nations, such as European countries and Australia.

Finally, security continues to be a major concern. Even the advances of the EMV card movement haven't removed all of the possible hazards. Engadget recently reported on a possible way hackers could obtain cash by illegally siphoning consumer data to an ATM from a terminal after either "shimming" or "skimming" the card in question.

One of CreditLine's key features is its focus on security. It both meets Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council requirements and uses tokens to avoid information storage hazards. CreditLine can be efficient in the long run as well, by reducing unnecessary charges and fees. Contact 911 Software to learn more about the advantages of this program.

PCI software standards can change with each version.

Without the right card data systems, following PCI council mandates may be increasingly challenging for merchants. The changing rules can force businesses to take greater steps to stay compliant. A solution that comes pre-built with effective security safeguards can be necessary for better customer data security.

Moxie's Nikhil Govindaraj commented on the tighter PCI requirements in a recent Forbes article. Since the standards are constantly evolving, he writes, companies need to prepare for long-term changes and establish a future-focus strategy. Completing a PCI audit successfully once doesn't ensure that future efforts will be just as successful.

As such, merchants have to invest in software that's both appropriate now and could help them prepare for later audits. Getting into the rhythm of the different versions can be part of the process of certification.

This April, CTO Troy Leach said that the previous version of the PCI DSS, 3.1, will expire on the last day of October. According to Leach, it was important for companies to meet compliance as soon as possible.

Doing so doesn't just satisfy the current standards, but also helps put merchants in the cycle of deadlines throughout the years, possibly ahead of their competition. What's more, the standards apply to any company that accepts, processes and receives payments, as a related press release stated.

Using 911 Software's payment processing options, merchants can dramatically improve compliance by using modern techniques like tokenization. This practice allows users to interact with card information while still avoiding the dangers of data exposure. Storing information is a potentially tricky area for merchants that aren't familiar with PCI standards.

You can read more about CreditLine's tokenization methods here. You can also contact 911 Software to get product information or software support.

Respect the trust credit card users are putting in your payment systems.

Recognizing customer concerns can help businesses see the real impacts of improving their credit card POS software. We may no longer be in the midst of the Great Recession, but shoppers may still be generally worried about overspending and afraid to use their cards in stores where their payment data might get stolen. On the merchant's side, the answer could be implementing verified software that meets industry standards.

While many users may be reluctant to spend too much, specifically with their cards, Millennials (those currently between 18 and 34 years old) are particularly wary, according to NerdWallet. That source said that 31 percent of this group of adults haven't ever applied for credit cards, and that those with low scores are usually more likely to seek out new cards.

This caution around even getting a card to begin with comes with clear pros and cons for the consumer. Though they avoid debt in the short term, they miss out on opportunities to improve their credit in the long term.

With optimal card processing options, businesses can at least make shoppers feel more secure and encourage consumers to put their trust in efficient and safe systems. These efforts may also parallel those of the card companies themselves to entice more use through rewards programs. 

Taking action to restore faith in card use can be a good beginning for businesses that want to modernize. What 911 Software offers isn't just the solution itself, but also the customer support needed to keep using it for better effect. Contact us today to start changing your current approach to payments for the better and doing right by your customer base.

ATM malware is still a concern, despite the rise in EMV cards.

The security benefits of EMV cards may come under criticism in light of new trends in hacking. According to a Dark Reading article, multiple trends are changing the ways criminals target cash machines. As merchants try to keep up with new threats, it can help to be aware of the way technology is influencing these potential problems. The source said that smartphones, traditional criminal expansion and new malware have all contributed to possible ATM threats.

One of the sources Dark Reading quotes does say that EMV hacking won't fully take off until traditional card victims are no longer profitable. However, that doesn't mean that the new frontier shouldn't be examined. Some of the security measures ATM owners are taking don't replace or repair existing flaws: instead, they just create opportunities for more hacks, the article said.

Some of the issues ATM companies have to be on guard against parallel the latest POS threats. The BBC recently reported on a sophisticated malware job that impacted several ATMs in Taiwan. While the source didn't comment on how the action was conducted, it did say that more than 1,000 ATMs were frozen as a result. 

Local police Criminal Investigation Division head Lee Wen-chang said that this action represents "the first time that an international team of ATM thieves has committed a crime in Taiwan."

Improving POS security may take updated card processing software and a reliable support system to see it through. Contact 911 Software and find out why customer retention has always been one of our major priorities.

Another hotel group warned its customers of possible fraud recently.

A "Payment Card Security Incident" has prompted action from a hotel group. HEI Hotels & Resorts is reaching out to customers after a breach reportedly left customer data at these locations vulnerable. The incident affected 20 properties across the country, including Hyatt, Marriott, Sheraton and Westin brand locations. These buildings were located in areas as diverse as California, Florida and Minnesota.

In a related FAQ on this incident, the source said that attackers "gained unauthorized access" to the company's systems. It also stated that the hack may have revealed "some payment data" and that the company has addressed its payment card processors as part of its remedy plan.

This accessed data could include names, account numbers, card numbers and verification codes for both credit and debit card users. the company specifically said that it does not collect Social Security Numbers or Debit Card PINs, so these identifiers are not at risk. 

"Upon learning of a possible incident, we promptly notified law enforcement and financial institutions, and engaged an outside forensic expert to conduct an investigation of the incident," the statement said. "We also transitioned payment card processing to a stand-alone system that is completely separated from the rest of our network."

In addition to this case, Krebs on Security recently mentioned a Kimpton Hotels breach affecting several locations. In response to this threat, the company encouraged its customers to report unauthorized payment card activities on payment cards.

The credit card processor merchants use should be part of their commitment to secure transactions. Work with 911 Software for an up-to-date solution for electronic payments, as well as the dedicated support it takes to keep new systems running well in stores of differing sizes.

Encryption can be a possible protection against the "man in the middle" attack.

New hacking techniques can attack old POS terminals and force merchants to stay on their guard. According to

As the name implies, a Man-in-the-Middle attack places a device between the POS computer and the initial keypad, the source said. The attackers can gain personal payment data by hiding within the legitimate systems, and the same can reportedly go for malware as well as the physical device used in the example.

To prevent this threat, merchants may need to safeguard systems to address data exposure. One of the merchant's best bets may be PCI Council-compliant software. The

Not surprisingly, the latest version of the PCI Data Security Standard includes encryption requirements. According to Dark Reading, this version said that the standard is changing to define encryption methods more specifically, eliminating elements that could represent vulnerabilities.

Back in April, PCI CTO Troy Leach described the users the business hoped to reach.

"We are really making a strong effort to reach the SMB community," Leach said. "The program for merchant banks is also important because they have a very challenging time interfacing with all their merchants and the role of PCI compliance plays to better secure payment environments."

Credit card POS software experts can give users the guidance they need to use these tools correctly to better protect customer credit card data from security threats. Contact 911 Software today to learn more about our customer-ready solutions and the way they can improve payment activities. PCI compliance is a good way to address possible system flaws, but it isn't the only method and should be coupled with professional knowledge.

Could credit and debit software be part of the shift to digital payments?

With a well-integrated POS credit processing software, businesses may see multiple advantages coming their way. The so-called "cashless society" might not be here yet, but there are more immediate benefits to encouraging card payments, if small businesses don't already. 

It should be no surprise that many consumers favor card payments over paper money overall. A recent Gallup poll showed that that the majority of Americans (62 percent) believe they will see the U.S. transition from cash altogether within their lifetime.

In addition, 42 percent of national adults are comfortable not having cash with them, at any given time, and the number is even higher for consumers between 18 and 29. Among these younger spenders, the median amount of cash they like to keep on their person is "0."

To businesses that only accept card payment, it might already feel like cash is a thing of the past. However, this just scratches the surface of what a cashless future could be like. Depending on how it happens, dropping regular cash use could theoretically lead to faster payments and easier transactions.

Perhaps most importantly for businesses, just accepting digital payments could mean a more unified POS system. Without cash, operators could potentially process transactions more simply and glean relevant data from them inside a single, intelligent POS system.

Though it may not be clear if going cashless will be feasible in the longterm, the more immediate question may be: how well can your business handle card data in-store? Verified credit card processing software can help business owners stop worrying and process payment information quickly. Along with that, 911 Software also offers high quality customer service for anyone in need of better advice for new software.

Even EMV cards could still be at risk with newer hacking methods.

Any small business needs to pay specific attention to its POS security. While there are multiple benefits to using a POS, especially if you haven't before, PCI Council standards compliance is important for stronger transactions. Some attacks have grown so sophisticated that users might not even realize that anything suspicious has happened until long after the fact.

Consumers are often told to be aware of unusual activity during payment. Business owners may want to follow suit to start investigating possible hacks on their own. In a recent article for PC World, Lucian Constantin said that a prompt to re-enter a PIN on a keypad could actually be a way to steal data.

Also, while EMV cards do reportedly prevent against some kinds of fraud, Constantin said that these aren't immune from the "re-enter" hack, either. As a result, businesses can potentially put too much faith into the steps they've already taken.

Dark Reading recently spoke to Tod Beardsley of the security firm Rapid7 about the issues associated with magnetic stripe cards. For hotels, this could threaten not just credit card use but also hotel door locks.

"Often a magstripe reader is configured as a general-purpose device, so you can drop in commands to open a register, open a window, or download malware and install," Beardsley said. Speaking about hotel security. Beardsley also said "encryption will happen at some point, but today it's pretty much the same basic technology from the 1970s."

The credit card processor business owners rely on will give them assistance for handling large amounts of data while assuring security. Contact 911 Software for information about our software systems and help with integration and other support issues.

Intelligent restaurants can put smart POS systems into place.

Though technology is changing many industries, many restaurants still have a long way to go in improving the customer experience. True innovation will require better card processing software as well as a strong focus on hardware that meets PCI standards and keeps user credit card data safe. For various industries, embracing the promise of new tech will be key for being more functional in the modern commerce landscape.

In a January interview with Hospitality Technology, Software Advice's Justin Guinn discussed some of the considerations that go into POS selection. As he said, it's a decision with the potential to impact a restaurant in many ways.

"We hear all the time that choosing a POS system feels like a very overwhelming process," he said. "With all the different options on the market today, there can be a lot of pressure to select the 'right one' that will work for the front-of-house and back-of-house staff."

In addition, Small Business Trends listed some of the ways in which restaurants can improve in the coming years through smarter use of tech. One of the items on this list is the growth of POS importance for eateries on this level.

The source said that better POS options could integrate with mobile technology and give businesses a way to ease transactions for users. Incorporating analytics and other intelligent technology will also leave restaurants with a way to harness user data for better delivery.

Getting a new credit card processing program can help fill a hole for restaurant owners who need to adopt a secure method for handling card data.