The Target security breach has many retailers and businesses worried, and with good reason, too. The recent hack compromised the credit card information of at least 40 million Target shoppers; “the names, mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of at least 70 million customers were also stolen,” NPR reports.
What is most alarming, however, is that hackers swiped the information right off of Target’s current point of sale (POS) systems. The large-scale security breach has many retailers and establishments asking, will I be next?
Outdated Magnetic Strips Likely to Blame
“Industry leaders know magnetic stripes are outdated and easily exploitable. The rest of the world moved on to a more secure, harder-to-hack payment system based on chip-enabled cards — chip and PIN. Chip-enabled cards are more secure because the data on the chip are hidden behind encryption. So even if criminals intercept what’s on it, they can’t reuse it,” NPR explains. Even so, nearly all American credit card companies continue distributing cards with the relatively vulnerable magnetic strips.
Visa and Mastercard, however, have committed to making the switch by 2015. “Every credit card in the U.S. will be replaced by October 2015 with new cards that contain the chip-and-PIN technology that the rest of the world has had for years,” The Wall Street Journal reveals.
Faulty Point of Sale Systems: There’s A Lot at Stake
In the meantime — while retailers wait for the shift to chip and pin cards — establishments need to make certain point of sale systems are up-to-date. Without the latest software, companies risk data and identity theft and losing track of inventory. Inventory discrepancies may not seem like a big deal, but they can make an incredible difference — especially for pharmacy point of sale systems (pharmacy POS systems). In one memorable — and tragic — case, a faulty POS system for pharmacy hospitals led to a fatal technician error. The pharmacy tech did not have enough saline chloride packets, prepared her own, and ultimately killed a 2 year old girl.
The recent Target hack makes it perfectly clear: chip and pin cards are necessary, and retailers need to update point of sale systems as soon as possible. An updated POS system for pharmacy is especially important; without them, pharmacies risk making errors that may claim patrons’ lives.