Vulnerabilities in point of sale systems pose some of the greatest threats to merchant security and the protection of payment information, according to a recent interview with Chase Paymentech’s David Wallace at Bank Info Security.

Wallace, who oversees Chase Paymentech’s merchant security compliance, attributes many of the┬ábreaches that businesses experience to poorly installed or configured POS applications.

“Badly configured POS systems are a target for automated attacks launched by criminals over the Internet,” he told the news source. “The Verizon 2012 Data Breach Investigation Report says that 85 percent of the breaches that occurred in 2011 involved POS terminals and servers. Adoption of payment application data security standard applications is a big step merchants can take to improve their security posture.”

Wallace went on to say that small and midsize businesses are particularly susceptible to these breaches because they often lack the technology resources and expertise, including system security training, that their larger enterprise counterparts have. He mentions franchises and hospitality industry chains as particularly vulnerable because if an exploit is found at one locations, miscreants can apply that same tactic to others and cause serious damage throughout the entire chain.

How can merchants avoid POS vulnerabilities?

Businesses, especially ones that lack extensive technology training and resources, need POS card processing software that is easy to install and use, and includes constant technical support available whenever necessary. That way, if an issue arises that needs immediate attention, merchants aren’t left holding the bag.

Oftentimes, businesses get hit with additional charges for tech support by credit processing software vendors, ones they can ill afford. By working with providers who offer robust, easy-to-use systems without hidden fees, merchants can limit the frequency technical assistance will be needed without having to fear a financial burden when support is necessary.