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Global retailers stepping up cyber-security measures for holidays

Retailers industry-wide are ensuring that hackers won’t spoil their — or their customers’ — holiday.

This was according to “Retail Risks Revealed: Cybersecurity Threats at All Time High During the Holidays,” a study from secure cloud-managed network services provider Infoblox. Data collected from retail IT professionals in the United States UK, Germany, and Netherlands revealed that threats like unpatched security vulnerabilities, insecure IoT devices, and online consumers themselves are a risk to retailers this time of year.

While retailers worldwide are adopting technology innovations to bolster customer experiences and streamline operations, 44% of U.S.-based IT decision makers said implementing new technology makes them more concerned. Yet, 44% of retailers also plan to implement IoT devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home in stores within the next 12 months.

In the UK, artificial intelligence (AI) (43%) leads as the technology most likely to be implemented within the next year, followed by IoT devices (35%), fourth screen technology (24%), omnichannel technology (23%), and augmented reality (AR) (17%). Similar to the U.S., the majority of IT decision makers in the UK are concerned about new technologies, a stark contrast from the Netherlands where only 20% are concerned.

While the majority of global consumers shop online to some degree,17% of shoppers do nothing to protect their data while shopping online. The UK is the most complacent with just one in five taking no proactive action to protect their data. On the other hand, German consumers are more cautious when shopping online - with more than half of (53%) consumers only shopping on secured WiFi networks, and 62% of companies reporting implementing extra protection for consumers.

To protect themselves from threats, 62% of retailers in the UK and Germany plan to increase cybersecurity measures during the holiday season, with a third in each region citing a rise in social engineering attacks (35% in U.S., 34% in UK, 30% in Germany). In the Netherlands, social engineering attacks dominated for just over a quarter of businesses – though this was still the most common attack vector.

Other kinds of attacks include:

• Social media scams – 19% in U.S., 15% in UK, 14% in the Netherlands, 12% in Germany

•DDoS attacks – 20% in the Netherlands, 17% in Germany, 12% in UK, 7% in U.S.

•Ransomware – 12% in U.S., 11% in Germany, 10% in UK, 9% in the Netherlands

"The level of online shopping activity always increases significantly during the holiday season and can provide rich pickings for the opportunistic cyber-criminal, so it's no coincidence that more than half of retailers will increase their cybersecurity spending during their most prosperous and dangerous time of year," said Victor Danevich, CTO of systems engineering at Infoblox. "It's critical that enterprises take measures to get additional network visibility, so they can respond quickly to potential cyber incidents which could result in lost revenue and brand damage."
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