Retail Technology is a Target for Hackers and Highly Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks
The frequency and magnitude of data breaches have steadily been on the rise, continuously setting and breaking new records worldwide. Although all industries have become a victim of cyber-attacks, the retail industry has become a primary target, each company averaging eight severe attacks per year. Severe cyber-attacks are any computer based assault involving malicious software or code that seeks to infiltrate an organization’s IT infrastructure, applications, databases, and source data.
Retail technology is an attractive target for hackers, as a result of high volume card transactions and most retailer's inability to quickly identify and contain cyber-attacks. According to research by Arbor Networks and the Ponemon Institute, it takes retailers an average of 197 days to identify an advanced threat within their network and an additional 39 days to contain it – higher than other industries. With a dwell time of over half a year, hackers who infiltrate a retailer’s network are able to collect data for an extended period of time. It is critical to minimize dwell times of cyber-attacks and quickly remove offending malware, in-order to reduce the damage by the breach.
According to the report, the most common method in identifying an advanced threat within a network is a “gut feeling”. This is a scary notion, considering state-of-the-art prevention technologies are not 100 percent foolproof. The past has proven, a persistent hacker will continue to attack and test a prevention system until they are able to infiltrate it.
IT security practitioners believe the best way to improve the ability to identify and contain advanced threats, is to invest in technologies that provide intelligence about networks and traffic. The second and third best investments are believed to be technologies isolating or sandbox malware infections and securing information assets.
Currently for retailers, their main investment and defense against cyber-attacks are controls to prevent network infiltration, followed by detection/blocking infiltration, and incident response procedures. In-order to decrease the number of advanced threats and minimize the repercussions of a data breach, retailers need to begin focusing on proactive measures that will reduce dwell times.