Do you own or operate a retail business? You aren’t alone. Statistics show that there are now over 1 million retail businesses operating in the United States. Assuming your retail business has a brick-and-mortar store, you may want to take precautions to protect it from random access memory (RAM)-scraping malware. Retail businesses are often targeted with RAM-scraping malware because they use point-of-sale (POS) systems.
What Is RAM-Scraping Malware?
Also known simply as memory-scraping malware, RAM-scraping malware is malicious software that scans and steals data from a device’s RAM. All computers have RAM. Computers use RAM to temporarily store data, primary data associated with open programs or processes. But RAM isn’t limited to computers. Other types of devices have RAM as well, including retail POS systems. Hackers will often use RAM-scraping malware to target retail POS systems.
Retail POS Systems and RAM-Scraping Malware
Retail POS systems are responsible for processing customers’ payments. In the past, they consisted of mechanically operated cash registers. Today, most retail POS systems are computer based. They may have a built-in cash register, but modern-day computer-based POS systems are able to scan credit cards so that customers aren’t forced to pay with cash.
If your retail business uses a computer-based POS system, it may become a target for RAM-scraping malware. When a customer scans his or her card, the information will be stored in the POS system’s RAM. RAM-scraping malware may be used to capture and steal this data
POS Malware vs RAM-Scraping Malware
The term “POS malware” is used to describe RAM-scraping malware that specifically targets the RAM of POS systems. It’s become more common in recent years. Hackers will deploy POS malware on retail businesses’ devices and IT infrastructures, which they’ll use to steal customers’ data.
The term “RAM-scraping” malware refers to all forms of malicious software that target the RAM of a device. It may target the RAM of a POS system, or it may target the RAM of a desktop computer or laptop. POS malware is simply a type of RAM-scraping malware.
Different forms of malware target different parts of a device. While most forms of malware target storage drives, RAM-scraping malware targets the RAM. It’s a concern for retail businesses because of its ability to capture and steal customers’ data. If your retail businesses use a POS system, you’ll need to secure it so that it’s not susceptible to RAM-scraping malware.