As the most important shopping season of the year approaches, retailers are hoping for a smooth few months but are actively preparing for the worst. 

According to Verizon's 2014 Data Breach Incident Report, 2013 proved to be "a year of transition from geopolitical attacks to large-scale attacks on payment card systems." The report announced that in 2013, POS invasions constituted 31 percent of the 148 retail breach incidents that occurred and 75 percent of breaches that took place in the accommodation and hospitality sector.

Retailers are specifically worried about the Backoff malware that has infected over 1,000 companies, and that the Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service previously issued a warning about. Backoff malware technology lets hackers remotely control retail administrators' accounts, allowing them to gain unauthorized access to personal payment information.

The situation is made even more difficult for businesses because cyber-criminals are constantly refining their tools, making it difficult for retailers to stay one step ahead. For instance, a number of security blogs have recently started reporting that a new version of Backoff exists, which is more difficult to detect with malware scanning techniques. The payoff for a successful breach is, unfortunately, huge for cyber-criminals.

"This often results in rather advanced tools," he said, "with a great deal of criminal investment behind them, being utilized to target smaller organizations."

The best thing you can do to protect your company and customers is to make sure that your security systems and card processing software are up-to-date and compliant with PCI guidelines. It's crucial to take the extra steps now, so that your business can detect any malware that might invade your systems during the holiday season.