Businesses all over the world are appreciating the benefits of using payment processing in their companies. From its flexibility, customization, and efficiency, companies continue to embrace growth with payment processors. However, just like any other payment method, payment processors are susceptible to cyberattacks.
Explaining Payment Processing
As the world turns paperless, transactions become more convenient. Money can be sent anywhere and to anyone with access to the internet. These transactions are made possible by payment processors.
Payment processors are third-party vendors that act as the mediator between the business and the bank involved in the payment or transaction. One good thing about payment processors is that customers may use different payment methods to pay for goods and services. They authorize and validate each transaction and successfully transfers the funds to the merchant.
How Does Payment Processing Work?
For payment processing to work, the merchant, the customer, and the processor or technology need to be the merchant. The entire process goes through payment gateways that securely send the customer’s sensitive payment information to the payment processor.
The process usually looks like this:
- The customer buys the item or product either using a credit or debit card.
- The customer’s information then goes through a payment gateway that secures the data through encryption.
- The payment gateway sends this data to the payment processor to let it undergo authorization.
- The payment processor sends a request to the bank to verify if the customer has enough funds for the charge.
- The bank will either approve or decline the transaction. If the charge is approved, the bank will put a hold on the specific amount.
- The customer’s bank will then forward the amount to the merchant account. Merchant accounts are bank accounts that accept the customer’s payments. Merchant accounts may vary per industry. High-risk industries are best to work with a high-risk merchant account, while traditional accounts are suitable for low-risk industries.
Cyberattacks Against Payment Processors
Cyberattacks are defined as attempts to disable, alter, or gain unauthorized access to systems, infrastructures, networks, or personal computer devices. There are various kinds of cyberattacks that range from simple to advanced, but the effects of cyberattacks may be damaging to most companies and businesses.
The e-commerce industry is not immune to cyberattacks. It also has its fair share of vulnerabilities with different cybercrimes. Here are some of the most common cyberattacks in payment processors:
It is a form of identity theft. Once the hackers can get hold of a customer’s sensitive data, they will use these details to act as the real user to steal funds or gain access to important information. Some ways to illegally obtain information are by online hacking, stealing emails or physical mails, and ATM and card reader skimming.
Any malicious software that is installed in a computer or system is considered malware. Malware is designed by cybercriminals to cause massive damage to a system or to gain access to the computer network. Some examples of this malware are viruses, trojan horses, and ransomware.
Ransomware is a kind of malware in which the cybercriminals would ask for a certain amount of money from the victims to get back encrypted or stolen data. Most of the charges demanded by these thieves are hefty and may cause significant loss to the company.
It is one of the most common kinds of cyberattack. Hackers would often disguise as a legitimate company and send an email blast to multiple receivers. These messages would often carry a malicious link to a website that will ask users for their credentials like full name, email, address, passwords, and card details.
Nowadays, it is much easier to know if an email is a phishing attempt. Keep an eye out for grammatical and typographical errors, or take a close look at the letters from the website address opened from the link.
Supply Chain Breaches
These kinds of attacks are targeted at a system’s weak points or vulnerabilities. The supply chain is the network of connections between a company and its suppliers. It is the process of providing the goods and services from suppliers to the customers—from product development, marketing, and operations to distribution, accounting, and customer service.
The malicious code from the cybercriminals piggybacks on a weak, digitally signed process of its host. Once it can penetrate the chain, the malicious code can access any information in the system that may disrupt the operations. Weak security defenses often cause cyberattacks.
How to Improve Payment Processing Cybersecurity
Conduct Regular Vulnerability Scans
It is a good preventive measure to conduct a regular assessment of vulnerabilities in the network once every 90 days or per quarter. Additionally, it gives ample time to determine and fix each vulnerability.
Comply with PCI Guidelines
The Payment Card Industry has set rules to ensure payment security. These rules include:
- Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data and vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords.
- Encrypt the transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks.
- Use and regularly update anti-virus software or programs.
- Develop and maintain secure systems and applications.
Make Strong Passwords A Requirement
It is easier for cybercriminals to prey on users that have easy, predictable passwords. Upon signing up, it is recommended to require users to formulate passwords containing numbers, symbols, and upper and lowercase letters. Allow users to easily recover their lost passwords by using personalized methods like phone numbers and verified email addresses.
Usual Security Measures May Not Be Enough
Attacks nowadays are more complicated and advanced. The usual anti-virus software tends to fall short in protecting a whole system. One effective alternative is the use of Managed Service Providers (MSP).
Managed Service Providers
Managed Service Providers or MSPs are third-party companies that take care of a business’s unique IT needs in the IT world. Companies choose whether they would like to have the MSP take care of all IT concerns or focus on a certain branch like security.
The types of services that MSPs provide are :
- Backup as a Service — focuses on preserving data on systems and infrastructure by duplicating them on a secure server.
- Desktop as a Service — the MSP hosts the back end of a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) so that the entire operating system is being run from the MSP’s virtual cloud infrastructure.
- Data Analytics — the MSP will monitor and analyze data from the network to help clients implement more efficient protocols and solutions.
- Managed Communications — MSPs will provide a unified messaging platform for employees. It includes instant messaging, video conferencing, file sharing, or email.
- Support Services — includes helpdesk and troubleshooting.
- Security as a Service — includes protection from viruses, malware, and other attacks, security reporting, log management and analysis, system monitoring, testing, and remediation.
- Managed Packages — MSPs become the complete IT team that takes care of all the IT needs of the company.
Why Are MSPs The Solution To Cyberattacks
With this, how can managed service providers protect companies from cyberattacks?
With years of experience and specialization in the IT field, MSPs provide the needed mastery to protect their clients. Issues are treated with accuracy that will ensure reduced liability costs and diligent compliance to state regulations, making them reliable, and giving confidence and peace of mind to their clients.
Most MSPs provide a plan for whichever service the company would like to avail. It often looks like an upfront fee and then an ongoing regular monthly fee, which helps clients expect a consistent monthly cost and save up on the in-house IT team’s expenses, including devices, salaries, and benefits. Aside from this, investing in MSP for security reduces the chances of restoration costs from data breaches or fraud that may amount to billions of dollars.
Competing against cybercriminals may seem daunting without the appropriate tools and technology to streamline processes and procedures. Having a dedicated MSP allows for continuous assessment, early detection, and effective defensive or offensive measures.
For Online Hackscan, 20 years in the IT industry is the only needed statement in making sure that companies are safe from hackers, data breaches, and stolen intellectual properties. With a service like this, you can prevent extensive damage to your business, which may even lead to bankruptcy.
In a world that is getting techier and techier by the day, ensuring safety and protection from possible cyberattacks could be one of the most important tasks to pay attention to in starting and maintaining a business. Usually, the regular anti-virus software does not do the job, and hiring a competitive team to take on the task may seem like the ideal option. The best way to go is to see what your business needs and find an IT partner that will effectively provide and take care of that.