As connectivity increases in the retail and consumer goods market, so do the associated risks. Consumer businesses are increasingly making use of emerging technologies, such as IoT and cyber-physical networks, to redefine customer experience. While these technologies boost productivity by a huge margin, they also put the smooth operation of the industry at risk.
Today’s businesses are leveraging emerging technologies to redefine products & services in order to stay competitive in the marketplace. The use of digital services like customer analytics, cloud integration, connected devices, and digital payment technology, expose businesses to cyber threats, causing a need for cybersecurity software in the retail and consumer goods sector.
Companies that deal with consumers, retailers, wholesalers, and consumer product companies directly should take proper precautions to mitigate cyber risk while undergoing digital transformation. Credit card fraud and identity theft are two common cybercrimes that can significantly damage customer trust and brand reputation—these crimes are becoming more common than ever as the demand for online shopping and digital payments increases.
Retailers face a majority of their cybersecurity challenges due to the advent of social media, omnichannel shopping, and emerging payment technologies. They need to address several cybersecurity and data privacy factors such as the safety of websites, apps, stored financial and personal data, and in-store devices like kiosks and POS terminals. Retailers need to efficiently align their cybersecurity measures with customer expectations in order to impact top-line revenue.
Consumers benefit from the following cybersecurity and data privacy measures in the retail sector:
- Encryption of stored data
- Prompts for passwords while accessing accounts
- Robust control over stored customer data
- Anti-malware tools at stores and on online shopping servers
- PIN and chip cards instead of swipe or sign cards in stores
- Dual identification through mobile devices and fingerprint/iris scanners at stores
- Fingerprint-based authentication on websites/apps
Cyberattacks in the consumer industry can adversely affect the company’s reputation and can impact market goodwill. Today, the digital world is significantly impacted by cyberattacks, and more and more sophisticated technology is used to steal personal and financial information, intellectual property, and other sensitive data. Companies that ensure adequate cybersecurity systems are one step ahead of cybercriminals. By conducting daily or weekly security audits, companies can give a strong boost to long-term customer satisfaction.
Cybercriminals make use of the following technologies to damage the foundation of security and digital privacy:
- Cloud-based botnets that capture processing power
- Exploitation of Near Field Communications present in new payment methods and other services
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks executed through the cloud, thus increasing their impact and intensity
- Tampering with multifactor authentication technologies, thus fostering disruption of customer experience.
Cybercriminals can obtain a large repository of credit card data by attacking retailers’ systems because these businesses use POS to process thousands of transactions daily. Thus, POS terminals are often exploited by cybercriminals and need to be protected with adequate cybersecurity solutions. The drawbacks in the security of POS systems are as follows:
- Accessibility–Cybercriminals can gain direct access to POS systems, either physically or through the corporate network.
- Lack of point-to-point encryption (P2PE)–If credit card numbers are not encrypted, cybercriminals can find them in plaintext within the memory of the POS system.
- Software vulnerabilities–POS systems usually operate on older operating systems that are more susceptible to attack.
- Susceptibility to malicious code–Many POS systems operate using a version of Windows OS. Therefore, they are capable of running any malware that affects Windows systems.
As the consumer industry deals in millions of daily transactions, securing consumers’ purchases is important to keep personally identifiable information (PII) secure and prevent identity theft. Today, companies in the consumer sector are constantly trying to capitalize on the growth of emerging markets. They are on the lookout for opportunities to align with technological advances in creative and efficient ways and use these opportunities to boost customer engagement and influence consumers’ path-to-purchase. Many times, emerging technologies serve as a target for cybercriminals who seek to exploit an organization’s digital ecosystem. It is vital to take the necessary preventative measures in order to help protect customers’ online identities and digital lives.