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New hacking danger at the checkout counter

New hacking danger at the checkout counter
photo courtesy of shutterstock

Consumers beware! Cisco Security Solutions has discovered a whole new breed of malware called PoSeidon that could infect retail point of sale (PoS) systems and steal your credit card information. The PoS is that keypad you use to swipe your payment card and enter your PIN at the checkout register. This new malware could be even more dangerous than the version used in the huge Target hack.

As Cisco explains it, the virus infection begins when the hacker's computer code buries itself deep into the target machine. The goal is to get in so deep that the virus survives a system reboot. According to Cisco's report, it does this by hiding inside a legitimate process inside the machine.

The virus code then reaches out to a rogue server somewhere in the world and essentially calls for back up. This arrives in the form of "keylogger" software that steals everything that passes through the PoS and scans the system for possible card numbers.

Then, just like clock work, the malware collects and sends all the stolen card numbers back to the "mothership" server.

In order to keep customer data safe from this type of malware, companies need to make sure their payment system security is up to date and effective. Hackers are constantly on the lookout for out-of-date systems that they can exploit.

According to the Cisco report:

"As long as PoS attacks continue to provide returns, attackers will continue to invest in innovation and development of new malware families. Network administrators will need to remain vigilant and adhere to industry best practices to ensure coverage and protection against advancing malware threats."

Keeping an eye on your financial accounts is also important, so you know immediately if your credit card or bank account has been compromised.

The sooner you know your information has been stolen, the sooner you can secure your accounts. I suggest investing in identity theft and credit fraud protection

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