Many large retailers in the UK, US, and Europe are exposing customers to theft of credit card information by using insecure wireless network connections, according to a survey of 3,000 shops in big cities, including London.
The survey by wireless security company Air Defense showed that 85% of wireless devices used by retailers, risked theft of customer and business data.
"Protecting consumer and retailer information is the most important job for retailers, and a layered wireless security approach is the only way to prevent proprietary information disappearing," said Richard Rushing, chief security officer at Air Defense.
The survey found that the most common security weaknesses included misconfigured access points that would give criminals access to data, the use of default network names that gave away the identity of the retailer, and missing or weak data encryption.
A quarter of the wireless connections monitored were not encrypted. A quarter of the protected connections were using the weakest form of wireless data encryption and less than half were using the strongest protection.
The survey also found that large retailers often use the same security technologies at all their sites, which meant all sites had the same vulnerabilities.