Cyberattacks against the retail sector are an ongoing concern. There are a number of factors that make retail systems attractive targets for hackers. Fortunately, there are also effective safeguards against these attacks.
In an industry that has traditionally only seen crime in the form of shoplifting, online retail has become a favourite target among cyber criminals and has been one of the most attacked sectors this year.
Customer information has been perhaps the biggest target, including both details from card payments and general personal information. Retailers have access to a wealth of sensitive data about their customers, who use often-repeated login details for their accounts.
As businesses increase their use of cloud computing and third-party vendors, supply chains have also become a common attack surface full of vulnerable touchpoints, particularly as retailers can’t always guarantee that their suppliers have robust cyber security in please, or even take security as seriously.
Attacks on retail industry websites were notably higher than all other industries last year, and were characterized by more sporadic peaks in attacks.
Scaling up quickly
In order to keep pace with consumer demand for buying online and, in some cases, to save businesses whose physical stores have suffered during the pandemic, many online shops opened or scaled up quickly. In many cases, this means they have not been implementing comprehensive cybersecurity solutions along the way. This fast scale-up or establishing of online presence also means that many retailers are relying on outside vendors for services like payment processing, shopping cart functions and other features. This makes retailers–and in turn their customers–vulnerable to supply chain attacks, when bad actors gain access to a service provider, then use that to target its subscribers and clients either directly or indirectly.
Retail Cybersecurity Statistics
Retailers have always been attractive targets for cyber attackers and data thieves. But now, cybersecurity issues in retail have become an even bigger concern. Consider these recent retail cybersecurity statistics:
- 24% of cyberattacks targeted retailers, more than any other industry (Trustwave)
- 34% of retailers said cybersecurity worries were their primary hindrance in moving to e-commerce (BDO)
- 34% also said that cyber attacks or privacy breaches were their most serious digital threat (BDO)
- Financial motives drove cyber attackers in 99% of retail cyber attacks (Verizon 2020)
- When data is compromised in an attack, 42% is payment information and 41% is personally identifiable data (Verizon 2020)
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