Marks & Spencer is to introduce a new IT security system at the point of sale (PoS).

The retailer has selected the Bit9 Parity system to help secure its point-of-sale devices, of which it has more than 16,000, and prevent unauthorised software and viruses from entering its network. It will also help Marks & Spencer meet its Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS) obligations.

The Bit9 Parity software will work by “whitelisting” applications and devices that are safe for use at the point of sale. All other software – including malware such as viruses and spyware – are rejected automatically.

The system works differently to other types of security software, which maintain lists of unauthorised software to block that must be updated continually as new threats emerge.

Bit9 chief marketing officer Tom Murphy said: “PCIDSS has directed retailers to provide the highest level of security and control on their point-of-sale systems. We are pleased to help M&S take this proactive approach to preventing unauthorised software and portable storage devices on its PoS systems.”