Last week, we covered the latest news in the point of sale security market — Visa and MasterCard forming a group of retailers, banks, credit card providers and financial institutions with the goal of pushing improved security technology.

While the Target breach is enough to understand why this kind of focus is needed, a recent study by McAfee highlights that this is important because criminal activity is growing. The report found that the number of malware samples that were found in 2013 tripled the number found in 2012.

The study also examined the increase in POS malware attacks. The numbers show that criminals are becoming more sophisticated than ever and are constantly looking for new ways to bypass the security systems. Merchants are facing three new threats every second. 

"Detailed research of the high-profile [fourth quarter] credit card data breaches found that the POS malware used in the attacks were relatively unsophisticated technologies likely purchased 'off the shelf' from the Cybercrime-as-a-Service community, and customized specifically for these attacks," the report reads.

The news of the massive Target breach has meant different things to both sides of the incident. First, it has highlighted the impact that an unsophisticated attack can have on a business, as it was able to affect nearly 110 million customers. However, it was a positive outcome for the criminal element that has seen how effective these kinds of attacks are.

Every merchant is going to need to pay attention to the growing challenges of the business landscape. With the help of a credit card payment processor, any retailer can be ready for the future.