As cybercrime soars during the pandemic, protect your company and your hardwon customer relationships.
Ask anyone, anywhere. Our top concern right now is battling viruses. Not just COVID-19. The pandemic has also created an outbreak of computer viruses – making cybersecurity a top priority for most businesses worldwide in 2021.
Trustwave’s Global Security Report says 24% of all cyberattacks targeted retailers more than any other industry. And all experts agree – if cybercrime threats are not handled quickly and efficiently, retailers will damage their precious relationships with customers.
In one of the scariest statistics out there, CyberCrime Magazine says cybercrime will cost the world $10.5 trillion every year by 2025.
Last year, the pandemic forced most small and medium brick-and-mortar retailers to move online. In fact, the lockdowns in 2020 spurred online retail growth by 35%. The news site Vox calls it “The year shopping changed forever.”
While the pandemic accelerated the way businesses used technology, it also exposed retailers to cybercrime at unprecedented levels. Per the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2021, cyberattacks are now relentlessly targeting businesses with fake websites, phishing, malicious emails, ransomware, and breaching customer credentials.
Reports of cyberattacks to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center have quadrupled since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Cyber actors exploit vulnerabilities in these systems to steal sensitive information, target individuals and businesses performing financial transactions, and engage in extortion,” said the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
More attacks are coming. That’s because 84% of organizations say they’ll continue to allow remote work even after stay-at-home orders are lifted, and the number of active internet users will continue to increase more than the 59% of the world’s population today.
Cyberattacks have skyrocketed in recent months. Russian hackers targeted the IT infrastructure management software vendor SolarWinds, infecting customers, federal agencies, security companies and other businesses. In March 2021, more than 60,000 businesses and organizations were hacked by a Chinese cyber-espionage unit exploiting flaws in the Microsoft Exchange Server. The hacks gave the attackers total remote control over the affected systems.
Ransomware is the fastest-growing cybercrime in 2021. Data shows companies are hit with ransomware every 40 seconds. Also, nearly half of all small and medium businesses fell victim to ransomware attacks last year, and about 75% of them had to pay up. One in five businesses that paid the ransom never got their files back.
Some of the ransomware attacks have been fatal. Last year, hackers disabled the Düsseldorf University Hospital’s computers, so they could not give a patient life-saving treatment.
Businesses must take precautions in 2021 to prevent and survive the endless waves of cybercrime. If they don’t, experts predict it will get worse.
Here are your five best weapons against breaches and ransomware
1. Protect yourself and your customers by not storing their data
With the increase of eCommerce, retailers have been processing and storing more customer data online. That’s putting a target on the information for hackers looking to steal customer credentials and sell it on the dark web.
“Don’t store customer personal data like their passwords, dates of birth and credit card numbers. It’s that simple to stop breaches and hacks,” says Jennifer Robertson, CEO of RedMaple.com. “Instead, consider technology like StagedPay™ that makes it virtually impossible to steal data because it’s locked up and stored separately in different vaults. Even if a hacker breached one vault, they still wouldn’t have complete data to commit fraud.”
StagedPay™ allows businesses to take orders on the phone, online or in-person and not worry about cybercriminals.
It’s even more important today to not expose sensitive data when studies show at least 51% of shoppers use the same passwords for work and personal accounts. Even 57% of those who have been scammed in phishing attacks haven’t changed their passwords. When that happens, hackers will breach businesses, steal customer credentials, and buy products with them on other websites (in a process called credential stuffing), multiplying the fraud.
2. Regularly update your software and operating systems
One reason the recent Microsoft Exchange Server attack has been so successful is that hackers exploited four security holds in the system. Once Microsoft discovered the unpatched servers, it issued updates. Those updates are now protecting businesses and organizations worldwide.
Updates not only include software patches, they can also fix and remove other computer bugs and even add new security features. Ultimately, updating your software and operating systems will help keep out hackers.
3. Perform regular backups
Your best weapon against the most prolific cybercrime against retailers – ransomware – is to make regular, reliable backups of your data and computer. Criminals will lockout business owners from being able to use their files. To restore the data, thieves will extort money from the user. Having a good backup on a separate drive can thwart cyber criminals by allowing you to restore your business data at a point in time before your computer was infected.
Make sure you have a copy of your business most critical information. Think about what you’d need to run your operation if your drives were lost or stolen. Experts advise you backup important files at minimum once a week, but preferably once a day. Also remember to test your copied data to make sure it works and fully restores the information.
For your e-Commerce site, select a web hosting service that provides automatic and verified backups so that you can restore your site if it’s attacked.
4. Install a firewall
Firewalls will protect your business from cyberthreats by acting as a barrier between your internal business network and the internet. The firewall blocks external users from accessing your private business accounts.
Potent firewalls will also inspect traffic in and out of the network and look for worms, spam and viruses that may impact your network.
5. Ensure PCI DSS Compliance
The PCI Security Standards Council® is an organization that sets security requirements for all companies that process, store and transmit credit card information. The standards help businesses prevent, detect and respond to security incidents. Any e-Commerce retailer should comply with the data security standards to protect their business and customers.
Some of the requirements include properly protecting passwords, protecting cardholder data, encrypting data, using anti-viral software and routinely scanning and testing for vulnerabilities, according to Digital Guardian.
All of Red Maple’s solutions from StagedPay™ to Advanced Credit Cards meet PCI compliance security requirements
In 2021, businesses will put their entire future at risk if they don’t make fighting cybercrime their top priority. That’s because TalkRetail estimates the cost of a cyberattack to be more than $5 million for more than a quarter (27%) of businesses. Experts agree that more people shopping online and more employees working from home make retail more of a target for cyberattacks this year than ever before.