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Is your POS device safe from cyber attack?

Cyber crime is estimated to cost Australian businesses well over $1 billion each year, and the risk is rising – as we saw in May 2017 when the WannaCry ransomware attack swept the globe.

Restaurant and catering businesses are not immune. After all, Australian restaurants process millions of credit card transactions every year. You better believe that information has value to cyber-criminals.

Protecting and securing your customer’s financial data, including the information processed using point of sale (POS) devices, should therefore be a top priority for business owners in the sector. Failure to do so could be very damaging for your reputation and your bottom line.

Andrew Faber, of R&CA’s endorsed insurance broker, Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG), outlines the POS risks: “It’s very common for staff to scan credit cards at tables and there is a wireless system picking up and transferring that data. That’s a potential cyber breach,” he said.

“Not only that, with so many businesses offering free wi-fi, just getting a modem and plugging it in and putting a daily password in it, those plug-and-play systems are not built to withstand a professional attack.”

How to protect your POS device

One way you can improve the protection for your business is by two-factor authentication of your POS device.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds a second level of authentication to your system, generally using a combination of a password and a token. 2FA is most important for applications that have access to more than one card number at a time, especially if these are accessible remotely.

By using unique identification symbols, your business retains all essential information while restricting unauthorised access to your client’s credit card information. It also helps your business to be compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards without having to introduce complex and costly end-to-end security measures.

Although it won’t stop cyber attacks, it’s a sensible precaution to add cyber insurance to your business’s insurance program.

AJG’s Andrew Faber adds: “Less than 1% of restaurants have cyber insurance cover, but they are far more likely to suffer a cyber attack than they are a fire or burglary.

“If your business is dependent on an electronic POS, online booking system and integrated computer system even a brief cyber security breach could be costly. Cyber insurance therefore represents great value in the event of a claim.”

Click here is you’d like more information or a quote for cyber insurance for your business.


Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) is the endorsed insurance broker of Restaurant & Catering. With 34 regional and metropolitan branches right across Australia, AJG has the local expertise to provide R&CA members with tailored advice and insurance solutions for all aspects of their business.