Our 12 Days of Tips series explores how small retailers can ACT now to repel data thieves during this prime shopping season. Awareness, Checking security controls and Testing security now will help your business lock down your systems during the holiday rush.
Merchants looking for more information on how to secure customer payment data should visit the PCI SSC merchant site.
Using a Firewall to Block Attacks from the Internet
The classic definition of a firewall is a structural component that prevents fire from spreading throughout a building. For the digital world, a firewall prevents Internet-based attacks and unauthorized access from spreading into your computers and payment system.
Firewalls manage the flow of computer data traffic allowed into and out of your network, for example to or from a server that hosts a payment system, or a PC. Depending on its configuration, a firewall will permit or restrict access and the passage of data to or from specified hosts and networks.
Firewall software can run on a computer or inside a hardware device like a WiFi router. Most security software suites include a firewall.
During the busy holiday selling season, hackers will be bombarding your store network with exploits over the Internet. Using a firewall is essential to help keep your systems safe from these attacks.
Here are three simple steps to help you effectively use a firewall:
1. Check firewall coverage. If you change anything on your store network, make sure all devices are still protected by the firewall.
2. Isolate the payment system. Set the firewall to stop all untrusted data transmissions to and from your point-of-sale and payment system. Prohibit direct public access between the Internet and these systems. Permit only what’s necessary for sales and card processing.
3. Protect other connected devices. Install personal firewall software on any mobile and/or employee-owned devices that connect to the Internet that might also link to the network hosting your payment system.
If you need help configuring your firewall, consult the person who installed your network and payment system.
Merchants looking for more information on payment security essentials should start here: