Why The Retail Industry Became The Target For Cyberattacks

Retailers are increasingly becoming targets for cyberattacks as online purchasing grows and cash payments gradually give way to electronic cards. The terabytes of customer data flow between retailers and their customers make this an appealing target for threat actors. However, some safeguards can keep this data safe and secure.

Credit Card Data

For many merchants, credit card information is an essential source of revenue, and it may also be used to compromise computer security. It’s susceptible and valuable, and hackers often exploit it to steal credit cards, other financial information, and personal details like phone numbers and security questions and answers.

While many retailers have taken measures to prevent unauthorized access to customer data, they still fall victim to cyberattacks. Retailers use various systems, including point-of-sale (POS) hardware, e-commerce websites, and cloud-based storage platforms susceptible to attacks.

Regarding security, the most important thing is to ensure that only authorized users can access the credit card information on file. It protects against hackers but can also help prevent disgruntled employees from stealing data from customers who leave the company. Retailers benefit from putting the proper cybersecurity protections like Versa Networks in place.

Additionally, storing this information in compliance with PCI DSS standards is another way to ensure it’s secure. All systems, devices, and processes processing credit card payments must be validated to confirm security. Payment brands set this standard, and organizations need to be compliant. It is done through ongoing assessments and validating your credit card processing environment. 

Insider Threats

Insider threats can be a hugely dangerous form of a cyber security breach that can lead to considerable financial and reputational damage. They can be carried out by disgruntled employees, malicious insiders and other third parties. According to one report, the volume and frequency of these insider attacks have risen significantly in recent years. Moreover, they can be difficult to prevent due to the nuanced nature of their access. Consequently, many organizations are turning to sophisticated tracking tools that can identify even small changes in employee behavior. It can help organizations mitigate the risks of insiders and other threat actors, such as disgruntled employees.

In the retail industry, insider threats can be a massive problem because of high employee turnover and multiple points of vulnerability. These include seasonal and traditional employees and third-party business partners who handle some aspects of a retailer’s operations. Malicious insiders use privileged access to commit fraud, espionage and other illegal activities. Their motivation is typically money, but they may also be motivated by a desire to achieve personal revenge or sabotage a company’s systems. While these threats can be highly damaging, they are also easy to prevent through a combination of continuous monitoring and network detection and response platforms. These technologies can identify patterns of behavior that are often missed by humans, such as suspicious activity, and can send alerts to users.

Supplier Attacks

Supply chain attacks are often the precursor to more serious cyber security breaches. They can be used to steal financial data, disrupt critical systems, or cause quality issues. They also can affect the reputation and reduce market value. In addition, they can be used to launch cyberattacks on other businesses. For example, a supply chain attack may infiltrate a network of software vendors or hardware manufacturers and inject malicious code into their products. The most common supply chain attacks are in technology, where hackers target software and hardware companies. Typically, attackers find vulnerabilities in the software or infrastructure that allow them to infiltrate a company’s system and inject their malware.

Another type of supply chain attack is a “man-in-the-middle” attack, where an attacker compromises a trusted entity such as a managed service provider (MSP) and uses this access to send out malware to customers. Supply chain attacks can be difficult to defend against, but it’s essential to do a risk assessment of your suppliers and build a cybersecurity plan with them. The plan should outline how to notify and contain the breach, how to mitigate the damage, and what you will do afterward to protect your business and reputation.

Targeted Attacks

The retail sector is one of their top targets when cybercriminals want to steal money or personal information. It has resulted in a rise in threats across the entire ecosystem.

Whether stealing credit card details at a retail store or installing malware that targets e-commerce websites and databases, these attacks are designed to take advantage of weaknesses in the security infrastructure. As a result, retailers must keep up with new IT security solutions and ensure their employees are protected from malicious threats when on the job. These threats are rampant in the e-commerce sector, which has seen a surge in ransomware and other cyberattacks over the past year. During busy periods, attackers can stop operations and put a substantial financial and operational burden on businesses until they pay up.

A common threat is zero-day vulnerabilities. These exploits allow hackers to sneak into victims’ systems without triggering the usual signature-based defenses, allowing them to access devices and infect systems with malware remotely. Another major threat is botnets, which allow hackers to gather compromised devices and systems to attack other targets. These are typically used by hackers working for governments and the military. Targeted attacks are a vital concern for any retailer, as these can damage their reputation and cause significant loss of business. Various factors, including lack of IT security, employee turnover, supply chain threats and data breaches, can trigger them.

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