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Kaspersky to Remotely Support Weakly Connected Point-of-Sale Devices

The company also introduces Network Threat Protection to improve ATM and PoS security posture against attacks.

Woburn, MA – April 23, 2020 – Kaspersky today announces a new version of Kaspersky Embedded Systems Security that can now can remotely manage and update ATM and point of sale (PoS) devices located in areas with a 2G internet connection. This enables the solution to effectively protect ATMs, payment terminals and other similar devices in remote areas without affecting their productivity and service availability. In addition, Kaspersky Embedded Systems Security has been upgraded with a new Network Threat Protection component which prevents attacks on a network layer.

From 2017 to 2019, the number of unique Kaspersky protected devices that encountered ATM/POS malware grew by nearly 2.5 times, according to statistics from Kaspersky Security Network. This suggests that ATMs, PoS and other similar systems are a tempting target for cybercriminals. Especially devices in remote locations, where a wireless modem is the only option for internet connection, and the area has poor cellular coverage or is not covered by modern wireless standards (such as 3G and above). These factors add to the challenge of keeping these systems continuously secure.

In addition, weak communication channels may lead to a conflict between traffic flows responsible for the execution of transactions, banking software updates and management tasks including the delivery of updates. When a channel is overloaded with traffic between the security solution and its management server, it leads to unstable operation or even a partial loss of control over the device. This becomes a problem in smaller communities where there are only a few cash machines available to citizens. If the community is remote enough, a scenario where an ATM goes down because of an overload in traffic or malicious actions would mean citizens would be unable to withdraw cash from their accounts until the issue is fixed.

This is why Kaspersky has optimized the volume of traffic shared by Kaspersky Embedded Systems Security to reduce the payload. Typically, the server periodically sends security policies to the ATM, which returns the applied settings. It allows for monitoring to show that the policies were not changed. With the updated Kaspersky Embedded Systems Security, the ATM would not send the whole of the acting policies back to the server, thus reducing the intensity of the data exchange. However, it doesn’t affect control over the device, as the ability to change these policies on the cash machine is strictly regulated by the security solution. 

Due to these updates and other data exchange optimizations, the solution now can work without systems being overloaded on embedded devices, even in regions where only a low speed internet connection such as 2G is available. In fact, its technical requirements for speed starts from 56 kbp/s.

“Some people prefer to pay with cash, and in some places, there is just no other option. This means people’s daily lives depend on access to physical currency, so banks need to provide their customers with means for withdrawing money,” says Oleg Gorobets, senior B2B product marketing manager at Kaspersky. “Our clients in the banking industry find themselves facing the issue of poor internet connectivity in remote areas. This can affect the quality of their service, which is supposed to be delivered both conveniently and securely. In order to help them solve this problem, we have optimized the system requirements of Kaspersky Embedded Systems Security.”

Mitigating risks of network attacks

Kaspersky has recently introduced Network Threat Protection which also improves ATM and PoS security posture against attacks aimed to break into an operating system. This component monitors both inbound and outbound traffic to detect suspicious network activity, and blocks the communication between the device and the source of malicious network activity.

In particular, Kaspersky Embedded Systems Security now can detect and block the following activity:

• Port scanning. At the preparation stage, cybercriminals may search for open ports, services running on them and vulnerabilities of these services. The gained information allows malefactors to choose an effective attack vector.  

• Bruteforce. Sometimes, there is an active Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) on an ATM or PoS, and cyber-attackers can use this for gaining access to the device by trying to “guess” the right password through submitting multiple character combinations to the service.  

• Denial of Service. By sending large amount of data or data in a format that cannot be handled by an application, a cybercriminal can stop the work of an embedded device.

To read more about Kaspersky Embedded Systems Security, please visit the official product page.

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