Retailers must stay on guard against security risks in 2014

In-store Wi-Fi is a business opportunity but also a security risk.

Retailers may be facing an uptick in cyberattacks in 2014. While the late 2013 breach of Target’s point-of-sale systems has received much attention, it could be just the tip of the iceberg. Researchers have observed spikes in malicious activity in the sector recently, plus stores still have to deal with relatively unsafe magnetic stripe cards until at least late 2015.

On top of all of that, the retail sector is in the midst of rolling out new amenities such as in-store Wi-Fi networks. As retailers’ IT infrastructure becomes more complex, they’ll need ways to ensure that computers continue working as intended and aren’t disrupted by freeze-ups or malware. Reboot on restore software is a comprehensive solution for making all endpoints, from the data center throughout the supply chain, indestructible.

Retailers may need to devote more time to cyberattack prevention in 2014
The Target breach could be a harbinger of future cyberattacks on retail outlets, given the potentially high return on investment for its perpetrators. With an average price per stolen card of $80, the Target attackers could sell the entire lot for nearly $6 billion.

One security vendor observed that more breach revelations could be forthcoming. Neiman Marcus already disclosed a breach, and three or four companies could soon do the same.This wouldn’t be surprising, since many retailers are not well-equipped against threats that are often well-funded and planned months in advance.

A recent survey of 100 small and midsize businesses found that 20 percent of respondents were not compliant with Payment Card Industry standards. Another 14 percent stated that they didn’t know their PCI status.

With so many potentially vulnerable endpoints in their IT systems, retailers may need to invest in additional security software, as well as system restore solutions that provide guaranteed recovery of workstations. Being able to roll back unwanted changes, whether implemented by malware or accidentally, will be critical for maintaining operational continuity in the face of a changing threat landscape.

Merchants are better at securing in-store Wi-Fi networks
Many retailers have rolled out in-store Wi-Fi networks to provide shoppers with free Internet access and diversify marketing opportunities. For example, Wi-Fi-enabled user devices can provide merchants with anonymous data about what parts of the store were most appealing, based on how long the device’s owner lingered in each one.

Managing these Wi-Fi networks can be a security challenge, given requirements for disposing of sensitive data. Fortunately, about 60 percent of retailers already have policies in place for securely getting rid of this information. Restore software can help businesses keep systems clean and safe by protecting them from unwanted changes.

Matt Williams

A self-proclaimed ‘tech geek’, Matt has worked in technology for a decade and divides his time between blogging and working in IT. A huge New York Giants fan, when not watching football Matt gets his game on playing Call of Duty with his friends and other tech bloggers.