Protecting Against Software Damage
By Stephanie Kropowski, Director of Marketing and Sales, KioWare Kiosk Software
A failure can be caused by something as innocent as a child unable to see the screen but able to reach the keyboard, a user inadvertently entering a particular key combination, or even a simple power outage. Whether an attack is deliberate and within the control of the end-user, or purely accidental, the result is the same – the kiosk will no longer be able to serve its purpose.
The need for application protection is always critical, but, unfortunately, usually just an afterthought. Kiosk system software makes certain that your application is always running and secured, ensuring your ROI is truly reflective of application success, rather than an application failure due to malfunctioning software or misuse. Specifically, kiosk system software secures the application by preventing users from ever reaching the Operating System (OS), desktop and browser. This prohibits users from changing systems settings, overwriting files stored locally on the kiosk, or surfing the internet.
How does kiosk system software restrict this access? Kiosk-specific features enable security that allows your application to remain unattended and function flawlessly.
Keyboard Filtering: for applications that have a keyboard available to the user, it is critical to disable certain specialty keys and key combinations. The keys could open a new window, dialogue box, menu, or allow users to escape the application altogether, allowing users potentially disastrous access to the OS.
Virtual Keyboard: the virtual keyboard, which works with touch screen hardware, reduces hardware vulnerability by eliminating the need for a physical keyboard and mouse. The keyboard is kiosk-specific, meaning certain keys are not programmed into the virtual keyboard, only those that are essential to the desired application.
Attract Screens: attract screens essentially replace the Windows screen saver, which would allow access to the OS, by rotating through images, ads or URLs instead. This feature can also be used to end a user’s session, by logging a user off after a certain period of idle time and beginning the attract screen loop. The previous user’s history, including the cookies, cache and print queue are then cleared.
File Download Blocking: kiosk system software can prevent dialogue boxes from being shown and ultimately prevent file downloading altogether. Otherwise, access to these options would give users access to browser windows and function-critical C:drive files.
External Device Support: kiosk system software also supports the integration of external devices for added security. Session end devices, such as retractable printers, retract printed materials immediately back into the kiosk at the end of a session. Security devices, such as security mats or proximity switches, sense whether users are standing at the kiosk, and will reset the application and clear the previous users’ history as soon as the user steps away.
If a kiosk is not secured, whether the attack is malicious or unintentional, costs will be incurred. The kiosk may be inoperable, users may feel unsafe using a kiosk where they notice their information is not secured, or sensitive information may be stolen. Protecting your kiosk application with kiosk system software protects potential victims, your application, and your bottom line.