Weighing In: Cyber Security in Digital Kiosks

Now and then, we like to take a look at the serious issues going on in the world of digital signage. At the moment, there seems to be a study on kiosk security causing a stir in the industry. In this entry, we’re going to take a look at the various sides to this story.

CSIt seems that the Kaspersky Lab has conducted research that found serious vulnerabilities in the digital kiosks that now make up much of the modern city—in particular, these kiosks are vulnerable to cyber attacks, as well as the well-known problems that allow people to access undesirable websites on public devices. A relatively famous instance of this is the widespread use of LinkNYC to view sexually explicit material by the city’s homeless population. However, while misuse of publicly available internet is a nuisance, the Kaspersky Lab has come up with much more troubling concerns:  the potential for hackers to access personal information, such as identity and credit card information.

As an example, think about a kiosk where customers are able to purchase movie tickets without waiting in line to speak to a customer service representative, or check in to a flight. These kiosks are then connected to other devices so that they can communicate information, creating connections and weaknesses that hackers can exploit. The Kaspersky Lab found that practically any public digital kiosk contains such vulnerabilities.

One response to this development comes from Laura Miller, a marketing director for a kiosk software company. In an article, she claims that all these problems have an easy fix proper use of kiosk software. This is an understandable viewpoint for someone coming from a kiosk software company, but it may not be the whole story. Though we’d all like to believe that there is an easy fix to this problem, the kiosk-mode software studied by Kaspersky does not seem to be much different from Miller’s suggestions. Though some of the security issues may come from improper or incomplete use of available security features, it seems naïve to assume that all of the problems can be resolved in such a simple way. Any software has weaknesses, and it’s essential that we take a look at the software itself and what can be done to make it more secure, rather than assume that the current kiosk software has no room for improvement.

Origin Display Group | originmenuboards.com | origindigitalsignage.com | 888-235-2579