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Most UK retailers plan to up cyber security

The majority of UK retailers are planning to increase cyber security measures during the Christmas season, a survey reveals

Retailers plan to increase cyber security measures during the holiday season, according to a poll of IT professionals in the sector in the UK, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the US.

Some 63% of UK and 62% of German retailers claimed to increase cyber security measures during the holiday season, according to the survey, commissioned by IT automation and security firm Infoblox.

The main reason cited for the increase by one-third of respondents in these countries was a seasonal rise in social engineering attacks, which were also identified as a dominant concern for 25% of IT professionals in the Netherlands’ retail sector.

Other kinds of attack cited were social media scams, distributed denial of service (DDoS) and ransomware.

Social media scams were of most concern in the US (19%), followed by the UK (15%), the Netherlands (14%) and Germany (12%).

DDoS attacks were of greatest concern in the Netherlands (20%), followed by Germany (17%), the UK (12%) and the US (7%).

Ransomware was of greatest concern in the US (12%), followed by Germany (11%), the UK (10%) and the Netherlands (9%).

The research found that among the main threats posed to networks within the UK were unpatched security vulnerabilities (28%), online consumers themselves (25%) and internet-connected devices (21%).

Within the UK, artificial intelligence (43%) was cited as the technology most likely to be implemented within the next year, followed by internet-connected devices (35%), portable media technology (24%), omni-channel technology (23%) and augmented reality (17%).

The majority of IT decision-makers in the UK (55%) said they were concerned about new technologies, in stark contrast to those in the Netherlands, where only 20% claimed to be concerned.

The survey also polled consumers on their experiences and attitudes towards online data privacy and security while shopping online.

Although most global consumers shop online to some degree, 17% do nothing to protect their data while doing so. The UK is the most complacent, with just one in five taking no proactive action to protect their data. German consumers are more cautious when shopping online, with more than half (53%) shopping only on secured Wi-Fi networks.

“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 cyber security spending during their most prosperous and dangerous time of year,” said Gary Cox, technology director, western Europe at Infoblox.

“It is 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.”

IT professionals in the UK named unpatched security vulnerabilities as the main source of an attack (28%), followed by consumer/end-user error (25%), vulnerabilities in the supply chain (22%), and unprotected internet-connected devices (21%).

When holiday shopping, delivery is the biggest point of concern for UK consumers (55%), followed by ID fraud (16%), data security (13%) and website crashing (13%).

Just 48% of UK consumers said they were only “somewhat” or “not at all” aware of the data being collected through store loyalty cards, while only 34% claimed to trust retailers to hold their personal data.

“It is interesting that so few consumers around the world are actively concerned with the protection of their own data when shopping online, particularly when two-thirds of those we surveyed had little trust in how retailers held that data,” said Cox.

“More education is clearly required about the risks that online shoppers face, especially over Christmas, and the steps they can take to better protect their own data and identity from those intent on theft and fraud.”

Read more on Hackers and cybercrime prevention

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