Possible cyber threats for
restaurant networks and
In the world of manufacturing, generally, the most
critical point of risk often comes at the level of the
industrial control systems (ICS). This is where both
manufacturing data breaches and shutdowns can occur.
One reason food processing is a target is because of
outdated legacy ICS. Another problem is that managers
often leave these systems to people who are experts in
food manufacturing, but not in cybersecurity.
Incorrect or lackluster software and firmware patching
can cause openings in ICS systems, leading to zero-day
holes just waiting for an attacker to come along and
Food can go bad and needs to be cooled or handled in
special ways. Because of this, the entire chain needs
to proceed quickly and without interruption.
Production and manufacturing shutdowns can damage or
destroy the business, ruin the product and make it
unsafe for consumers. That harms cascades down to
partners and suppliers.
These highly skilled computer experts use their knowledge to exploit
or break into connected devices and computer systems. They target
restaurants due to the abundance of poorly secured systems. Once
they find a vulnerability and get into the network, they go after the
POS systems. Due to the POS doing the simple job of processing
transactions, the typical alarm bells of a desktop computer hack
would not be seen by a user, for example, ransomware messages,
degraded performance, etc.
Maintain a strong firewall.
Conduct regular scans of your network.
Limit remote access. Firewalls left open by managers
working remotely or through regular maintenance on
systems can put your network at risk. Regularly
change passwords and do not use default codes to
help keep your network safe.
Ensure all credit card data is encrypted. Some older
point of service (POS) equipment sends and stores
raw credit card data, rather than encrypting the
data as soon as the card is swiped. Make sure your
Wi-Fi, security cameras, and digital menu boards run
on a separate network from your POS equipment.
Keep your software updated.
Imagine logging into your back-office system only to
be greeted with a frozen screen. You cannot access
your files and then see a ransomware message: Pay
$15,000 to access encrypted files. There’s nothing
that can be done at that point. Ransomware prevents
users from accessing their system until a ransom is
paid to get a decryption key of some kind.
Ransomware attacks are on the rise and there is no
end in sight.
Embrace zero trust network access and multi-factor
Prioritize vulnerabilities that matter and patch
operating system and application software
Consider endpoint protection solutions that not only
detect and act against suspicious behavior but can
actually prevent malware from executing.
Isolate guest Wi-Fi from your main network. This
will protect against accidental installation of
ransomware malware by drive-by infection (accessing
an internet site that uses that connection to infect
Further segment your restaurant networks to isolate
POS systems, back-office PCs, and file servers,
helping to prevent spread of malware in the event of
Many restaurant owners set up a firewall as a basic
security measure and believe their networks will be
sufficiently protected. In today’s cyber world,
firewalls can’t just be set up and run on their own.
While a network firewall is a fundamental security
component, it must be actively monitored, managed,
and updated to be effective.
Even still, a managed firewall cannot defend every
threat vector. Attack and breach prevention requires
a new approach, and many products and service
providers simply do not have the ability to stop
cybercriminals before they do legitimate damage.
Utilize wireless protected access (WPA). WPA or
WPA2 (preferred) are types of wireless encryption
technologies that provide data protection. For most
routers, simply log in to the settings to update
your security mode to the safer options.
Turn on your firewall. Firewalls protect your
business network from outside attacks, and depending
on the make and model of your router, it may come
with one built in. Ensure it is already turned on
and enabled through your router’s settings.
Partner with a security vendor that offers managed
network services. This service helps you control the
performance and security of your business networks
with 24/7 management, change control, monitoring and
network operations support.