XP Embedded “Point of Sale” Security


We’ve seen them in the stores, the Quick Checkout Self-serve Lines. When they first came out no one wanted to use them until they found it was 100% faster in everything scanned correctly.

I’ve even used them before I heard about the flaws in them. I figured those machines you here about are somewhere else and not these. Until I finally saw one crashed and to my horror it was a windows XP screen showing in the background. Now I know if I have to use them only use them with cash or coupons, never use debit cards or credit cards.

If you believe the hype on the Internet they say these machines are getting hacked and personal information (like credit card numbers with PIN numbers) is being captured after confirming they are correct and then sending the captured data out to know groups who then sell that information to the highest bidders.

What I know is the operating systems inside these machines are usually running XP embedded and are most likely not being upgraded. How do I know this??? Very simple! Do what I did, when you find one crashed look at the bottom right side of the task bar and it will say how many upgrades are pending. The number I saw was astounding to say the least. If you ever owned a Microsoft Operating System you know it usually has a least 1 to many upgrades (usually security) every 2 to 4 weeks. Also on most operating systems they automatically upgrade after a very critical update. The number of upgrades pending I saw said this station was never upgraded after the last repair done on it. Very scary indeed. The most likely reason for this is Microsoft Updates, they happen at the worst time and some financial software do not like to be interrupted while running… Just a guess!

As noted during this crash I witness the only supervision was the attendant saying not to use that terminal for obvious reasons but didn’t stick around to turn off the unit but to help another customer at another terminal. I also noticed a USB port I could have easily inserted with a USB data stick in which it would auto load any program I wanted. Very scary indeed! This is what security experts are saying that happened in the ongoing corruption of these terminals.

All I know is when I use them now I only pay with cash!
The last thing I need is someone to get my debit or credit card with my PIN number and take all my cash or run my credit up.

What a shock when I saw the default XP logo screen still running Service Pack 1. Very soon there will be no support from Microsoft for these terminals, with no updates available what will happen then? Will the stores all upgrade to a newer system?!! I think we all know the answer to that one! – NO! TOO EXPENSIVE!!!

Remember to save yourself more grief just use cash and or coupons. Store cards are ok if they have limited funds on them… Your choice to decide, you know my answer!

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