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Retailers Targeted as Hacking Attempts Escalate

18 August 2017 - 09:47 by Simon Crisp

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Cybercriminals are increasing their efforts to steal consumer data by putting major retailers in their sights with repeated attacks, according to a new study from RPC.

The Telegraph reports that the number of attempted breaches has doubled over the last 12 months, leaving millions of customers at risk and making it harder to carry out safe shopping online as a result.

Spokesperson Jeremy Drew explained that retailers were especially attractive targets for crooks because they often rely on archaic, convoluted digital infrastructures, which are ripe for exploitation by malicious third parties.

In total there were 38 successful breaches which led to private information being stolen from retailers during the period covered by the study, with analysts also blaming the sheer popularity of e-commerce for this state of affairs.

Drew pointed out that even people who visit high street stores might be put at risk, since plenty of retailers now provide receipts digitally and thus need to retain some personal information on their systems.

Experts criticise retailers for not doing more to prioritise cyber security, although it is recognised that many other pressures are leading to a lack of focus on this particular topic. This includes things like the falling value of the pound, along with the rising costs associated with operating physical outlets.

In 2018 a new batch of legislation is setting out to give retail a shot in the arm when it comes to security, meaning that it should be easier for consumers in the UK to carry out safe shopping online without expecting that they may fall victim to a breach further down the line. But for the time being it seems inevitable that the volume of attacks will continue to rise and the number of people negatively impacted will climb along with it.