E-commerce sales grew by nearly one-third in 2020, in large part due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, retail data breaches grew even more prevalent and costly. Retailers need to know not just the cost of a data breach, but the risks and challenges involved with one. This can help IT security professionals and business owners protect against attacks. It also helps to look at some of the more infamous data breaches of the past year. Be prepared by knowing what threats to protect against.
What Is a Retail Data Breach?
A retail data breach involves attackers stealing customer data. That can include credit card numbers, names, addresses and, in the case of e-commerce data breaches, even passwords. It can also involve attackers gaining access to company data or accounts, which increases the cost of a data breach.
There are several types of retail data breaches, including:
Skimming at the point of sale, where thieves steal credit card information and use it to make unauthorized purchases
Phishing, where threat actors social engineer information to obtain passwords or bank account numbers
Malware, or software that can steal or wipe data
Ransomware, or software that holds data hostage until the victim pays a fee.
Well-Known 2021 Data Breaches
A popular men’s clothing retailer, with both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar locations, suffered a devastating breach earlier this year, with customer data — including partial credit card information — stolen from millions of customers. The data was posted on a hacker forum after it was downloaded from the company’s backup cloud.