3 Cybersecurity Predictions for the Retail Industry in 2014
The news headlines of 2013 have perpetuated the idea that the retail industry, just like any other industry, isn't immune to cyber attacks. Just within the past several weeks we've seen the largest retail data breach to date when Target saw 110 million transactions compromised, and the expectation is that this won't be the last time — for Target or any other retailer. As a result, we'll see some significant changes this year with regard to how retailers protect their sensitive data and consumer buying behavior.
Consumers Will Be More Careful
The faith of the consumer will undoubtedly be tested in 2014. Many may think twice before swiping their credit cards at a local retail chain, and some will be more cautious to adopt the latest technologies — e.g., mobile payment systems.
We'll also see a reversal with regard to information sharing. 2013 was the year of oversharing. We've seen oversharing on social media, with personal details like email addresses, traceable cellphone numbers or home addresses provided. In light of recent data breaches like the one at SnapChat, consumers will become more reluctant to share personal information online. We'll see a shift in focus on sharing only need-to-know information.
Consumers will also pay closer attention to monitoring their personal finances. We've gotten to a point in which the industry has acknowledged that breaches will happen; we cannot prevent all of them. In response, consumers will keep a closer eye on credit card statements and personal banking information, even when they know they haven't shopped at a store that publicly announces it suffered a data breach. This shift in attitude will continue, and retailers will be expected to address it accordingly.
Retailers Will Face an Increasing Number of Sophisticated Attacks
The types of threats retailers will face in 2014 will continue to include credit card data theft, denial-of-service (DOS) attacks and point-of-sale (POS) system breaches. For example, many cash registers will continue to run variants of Windows and be vulnerable to the same exploits as desktops and servers running related operating systems. Online retailers will also continue to come under DoS attacks that attempt to knock their sites offline.