Retailers have a lot on their plate amid the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing regulations have forced many stores to close or move all of their operations online. In the middle of all of this change, cyberattacks are on the rise and targeting retailers.
Cybersecurity has always been an issue, but it's become more prevalent since the outbreak began. Retailers, in particular, are experiencing an unusual surge in cybercrime, from malware attacks to phishing campaigns. Why are cybercriminals targeting retailers, and what can retailers do to defend against them?
Rising Cybercrime Amid COVID-19
One of the reasons retailers are seeing more cyberattacks is because cybercrime as a whole is increasing. The pandemic has created a lot of confusion, allowing online scammers to fool people who would typically be more vigilant. If you're hungry for information, you're more likely to click anything offering answers.
Cybercriminals are also taking advantage of the growing number of employees working from home. Before the outbreak, only 25% of Americans worked remotely, so the transition into remote work is uncharted territory for many companies. As everyone adjusts to their new work environments, it could leave cracks in their cybersecurity measures.
Retail at Risk
Many retailers experience all of these growing cyber threats. The influx of coronavirus-themed scams or struggling to adapt to remote work affect retail workers as much as anyone. There are a couple of unique risks facing retailers, though.
Lots of stores have transitioned into e-commerce to stay in business and follow social distancing regulations. Online stores are a tempting target for hackers since they deal with personal information like customers' credit card numbers. With more e-commerce growing, cybercriminals are also more likely to impersonate retailers to trick customers.
You might've seen emails with subjects like "coronavirus sale" or "COVID-19 special offer" recently. While retailers are likely to offer sales in light of the recession, many of these promises are just scams. Even though these aren't from actual stores, they could harm retailers' public image if enough people fall for them.
Keeping Retailers Safe from Cybercrime
The retail industry is experiencing a wave of cybercrime targeting both stores and their customers. That doesn't mean that these businesses are helpless, though. By increasing their cybersecurity measures, retailers can keep their businesses and customers safe from cybercrime.
Fast, clear communication is essential in this often confusing time. Retail employers can use management software to broadcast private notifications to employees regarding any security changes. By keeping everyone up-to-date, they ensure that security issues are at the forefront of everyone's minds.
If employees are working remotely, retailers should require authentication to access company servers. Employers should also encourage workers to avoid using personal devices to access work data. These two steps make it harder for hackers to access websites or clouds through work-from-home vulnerabilities.
Retailers may be unfamiliar with higher cybersecurity standards and techniques. If that's the case, they can turn to authorities like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for guidance. The NIST and similar organizations provide guidelines for increasing cybersecurity, especially for those new to the concept.
Safety in the Pandemic Includes Cybersecurity
Everyone knows that safety is a chief concern amid the pandemic. What some people may not realize is that this safety includes cybersecurity. To keep their employees and customers completely safe, retailers need to ramp up their cybersecurity.
Retailers are the ideal target for cybercriminals during the outbreak. With the right measures, though, these businesses don't have to be afraid of hackers. By adopting advanced cybersecurity as part of their new operations, retailers can stay safe from the coronavirus cybercrime wave.