The Evolution of Cyber Security in POS Terminals: A Look Back at 2017, 2018, and 2019


As technology continues to advance, so do the threats to our cyber security. Point of Sale (POS) terminals have become increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks, making it crucial for businesses to stay up to date with the latest security measures. In this blog post, we will take a trip down memory lane and explore the evolution of cyber security in POS terminals, focusing on the years 2017, 2018, and 2019. Join us as we uncover the major trends, challenges, and advancements that have shaped the industry over the past few years.

2017: Identifying Vulnerabilities and Ransomware Attacks

In 2017, the cyber security landscape witnessed a surge in ransomware attacks targeting POS terminals. These attacks involved malicious actors encrypting critical data and demanding a ransom for its release. Major breaches, such as the infamous WannaCry attack, exposed vulnerabilities in outdated software and weak security protocols.

Businesses quickly realized the need to invest in robust cyber security solutions, leading to the development of advanced encryption algorithms and secure authentication mechanisms. Additionally, industry-wide efforts were made to improve employee awareness and training to prevent phishing attacks and social engineering.

2018: The Rise of Malware and EMV Technology

In 2018, the focus shifted towards combatting the rise of malware attacks on POS terminals. Cyber criminals developed sophisticated malware strains, specifically designed to target these systems. POS malware posed a significant risk as it could capture and transmit sensitive customer data, including credit card information.

To combat this threat, the industry took a significant step forward with the adoption of EMV (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) technology. EMV chip cards were introduced to replace traditional magnetic stripe cards, offering improved security measures. EMV terminals became the new standard, requiring customers to insert their card into the terminal, thereby reducing the risk of card skimming.

However, despite this advancement, businesses still faced challenges in terms of upgrading their hardware and software systems to accommodate the new EMV technology. This transition required substantial investment and posed temporary inconveniences for both businesses and customers.

2019: Addressing New Challenges with Biometrics and Tokenization

In 2019, the cyber security landscape witnessed further advancements in POS terminals, addressing new challenges and threats. One notable development was the integration of biometric authentication methods, such as fingerprint and facial recognition. By leveraging biometrics, businesses enhanced security measures and provided a seamless and convenient checkout experience for customers.

Another crucial development was the widespread adoption of tokenization. Tokenization replaces sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, with unique tokens. These tokens serve as surrogate values, making it nearly impossible for hackers to retrieve the original data. Tokenization played a vital role in safeguarding customer information and reducing the impact of data breaches.

Looking Ahead: Future Trends and Emerging Technologies

As we move into the future, the cyber security landscape for POS terminals continues to evolve. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are being deployed to detect and prevent sophisticated cyber attacks in real-time. Additionally, blockchain technology is being explored to enhance the transparency and integrity of transactions within the POS ecosystem.


In conclusion, the past three years have witnessed significant advancements in cyber security for POS terminals. From identifying vulnerabilities and combating ransomware attacks to the adoption of EMV technology and the integration of biometrics and tokenization, the industry has evolved to counter emerging threats. As technology continues to advance, businesses must remain vigilant and proactive in implementing robust security measures to protect their customers' data and ensure a secure transaction environment. By staying updated with industry trends and adopting emerging technologies, businesses can mitigate the risks posed by cyber criminals and safeguard their operations.

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