Cyber Security for Retail: Threats & How To Avoid Them?

With the increased usage of the Internet, the number of cyberattacks has increased as well. Since retail shops hold a huge amount of customer data in their system such as credit or debit card details, cyber attackers make them their targets to commit shopping fraud.

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The Peak of Cyber Attacks on Retail Market

The shopping season is a paradise for hackers. The number of customers increases due to the several offers and discounts provided by e-commerce websites and brands. Whereas offline shopping offers sales on old items as well as off-season discounts whereas online e-commerce websites put multiple items at a discount and a large number of customers visit the website to shop using their debit/credit cards, UPI and net banking.

This is where retailers do not bulk up their cyber security defence due to extreme customer load and have to worry about their customer service and other necessities. Let us tell you about some of the common threats that these retailers have to face at the time of sale and how can they secure themselves.

Retail Cyber Security Threats

Here are some of those cyber security threats for retailers.

Data Breach

Retailers and e-commerce shopping websites have data of many customers. As customers input their debit and credit card details and these websites save them, the customer data such as their name, cvv, card numbers, etc. become prone to theft by the threat actors. Once they hack and get access to the data, they sell it on the dark web for a huge amount. In order to steal this data, the threat actors disguise themselves as authentic users.


In order to exploit vulnerable retailer networks, hackers install ransomware. The installed ransomware makes way for them to encrypt their system and block their transactions. Then they demand for ransom in return for a free network. This can lead to financial loss for the retailers and also damage the reputation of the retailer.

Not just this, when these hackers are done exploiting the retailer and get the ransom amount, they do not set give their data back instead make a copy of it and keep them in case they can again use it to blackmail the retailer.

Phishing Scam

Phishing attacks are one of very common traditional cyber attacks. In phishing attacks, threat actors send fake emails to the retailers attacking them with their false schemes. They provide a link that contains a virus and if the victim clicks on that link, the virus spreads in their whole network and gives access to the hacker of their online data.

Once the hacker gets access to the online data, they can copy everything and put it on the dark web at a price. Hackers ask for a ransom from the retailer and in return, they offer to give them access to their network.

Advanced Persisting Threats

Here are some of the reasons that widen the attack surface for the hackers and It becomes more likely that advanced persistent threats will continue in their systems for a longer period of time. Advanced persistent threat groups distribute viruses and malware through emails to move across different networks. It is because many retailers are now:

  • Purchasing more cloud-based services
  • Increasing the digital presence
  • Going large to increase their geographical network
  • Deploying more IT stacks

This makes retailers more prone to cyber attacks. However, no matter how you protect your data stored online, cyber-attacks are inevitable and to protect yourself from further cyberbullying and financial loss, a cyber insurance policy is necessary.

How To Avoid These Threats?

Here are some ways to avoid these cyber threats in retail or at least decrease their impact.

Encrypt Sensitive Data

Sensitive data refers to the credit/debit card details should not be retained online in the retailers network. In case the network used by the retailer retains the credit/debit card data then retailers should make sure that they are encrypted.

Regular Data Backup

In order to minimize the chances of data loss after a cyber-attack such as phishing or ransomware, it is very important to back up the data from POS, e-commerce and other applications. The retailers can automate the backup with the help of managed service provider.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication refers to the type of authentication where the user has to give two or more pieces of evidence to access a website or application. This helps the retailers in keeping their data safe and hard to access for any threat actors.


The number of cyberattacks is increasing day by day since cyber attacks take place all of a sudden and it is not easy to prevent them, purchasing a cyber insurance policy is the best way to prevent any further financial loss. Hence it is advised to purchase a cyber insurance plan online to make sure that you purchase the best one as per your requirement.

Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 16 September 2022

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