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Understanding and Preventing Point of Sale Attacks

Blog article featured on the Palo Alto Networks website.

POSTED BY: Josh Grunzweig on October 28, 2015 1:00 PM

In recent years, there have been a number of high-profile stories involving the compromise of point of sale (PoS) devices. My research often involves deep reverse engineering and analysis of various malware families targeting PoS devices. As such, I’m often asked about the overall threats that these machines face. In this article I hope to provide a high-level view of the threat landscape currently affecting PoS devices.


The term PoS refers to a machine used by businesses to conduct a retail transaction. If you have ever used a debit or credit card to make a purchase, you’ve likely seen these machines. They often run customized hardware and software, however, the underlying operating system (OS) is more commonly some version of Microsoft Windows, often Windows XP or Windows 7. This trend has shifted slightly in recent years with the popularity of mobile PoS devices, most of which run either Android or iOS. While these are becoming more common in smaller businesses, Windows-based PoS machines still make up the majority, and by association are the devices most heavily targeted by attackers…

Read the full article on the Palo Alto Networks Blog.

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