Cybersecurity threats have become more sophisticated and aggressive over the years, and retailers are among the most vulnerable targets. With the growth of e-commerce and the increasing amount of data being stored and shared online, retailers must take proactive steps to secure their systems and protect their customers' sensitive information. In this blog post, we will discuss five cyber threats that retailers are facing and how they can fight back, drawing insights from two articles: "5 Cyber Threats Retailers Are Facing and How They're Fighting Back" from CSO Online and "Protecting Your Retail Business from Cyber Attacks: The Importance of Cyber Risk Quantification" from Alfahive.
Phishing and Social Engineering Attacks
Phishing and social engineering attacks are the most common forms of cyber threats, and retailers are no exception to their effects. Phishing and Valid accounts have been the top MITRE ATT&CK initial access vectors used by threat actors. In a phishing attack, a cybercriminal sends an email or message that appears legitimate but is designed to trick the recipient into clicking a malicious link or downloading malware. Social engineering attacks, on the other hand, are designed to manipulate human behaviour to gain unauthorised access to sensitive information.
Retailers can protect themselves from phishing and social engineering attacks by implementing robust cybersecurity policies, training employees on how to recognise and respond to such attacks, and using multi-factor authentication to prevent unauthorised access.
Ransomware attacks have become more prevalent in recent years, and retailers have been frequent targets. In a ransomware attack, cybercriminals use malware to encrypt a retailer's data and demand payment in exchange for the decryption key.
The report also recommended that retailers implement multi-factor authentication, regularly backup their data, and provide security awareness training to employees to help protect against ransomware attacks
Insider threats are among the most challenging cyber threats to detect and prevent. These threats occur when an employee or contractor with access to sensitive information intentionally or accidentally shares it with unauthorized parties.
Retailers can prevent insider threats by implementing access controls that limit employee access to sensitive data, conducting regular security awareness training for employees, and monitoring employee activity for signs of malicious behaviour.
Retailers often work with third-party vendors, who provide services such as point-of-sale (POS) systems, payment processing, or inventory management. These relations are “Trusted Relationship” on the MITRE ATT&CK Initial Access vector that increases their exposure to cyber risks. Attackers can exploit these trusted relationships to gain access to a retail network. For example, attackers may compromise a vendor's system or credentials, which can then be used to gain access to the retail network. Once inside the network, attackers can then move laterally and access sensitive data, such as customer payment information. Third-party vendors may also have access to sensitive data or systems, and a security breach at one vendor can have a cascading effect on the entire supply chain.
To manage third-party risk, retailers must conduct due diligence on their vendors, including assessing their cybersecurity posture and ensuring that they comply with relevant security standards and regulations.
Internet of Things (IoT) Devices
The rise of IoT devices in retail, such as smart shelves, checkout terminals, and security cameras, has created new opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities in these devices.
To protect against IoT-related cyber threats, retailers must implement security controls that address the unique risks of IoT devices, such as regularly updating firmware and disabling default passwords.
In conclusion, cyber threats are an ever-present danger for retailers, and the stakes are high. A single security breach can result in significant financial losses, reputational damage, and legal liabilities. Therefore, retailers must take proactive steps to secure their systems, educate their employees, and manage their third-party risk. By implementing robust cybersecurity measures from Alfahive, and staying vigilant, retailers can protect themselves and their customers from cyber threats and enjoy the benefits of a safe and secure online presence.