A new report has revealed that cyber-attacks against retailers have seen an unprecedented rise as hackers attempt to steal the “goldmine of personal data”.
According to law firm RPC, the number of cyber-attacks retailers reported to the Information Commissioners Office doubled in the last year.
Data breaches involving the loss or leaking of client information hit 38 in the year to March, up from 19 a year prior.
The rise in online shopping, loyalty schemes and digital marketing data in retail’s big data push have made it a prime target for hackers.
The RPC research said: “The risks involved in data breaches are increasing in the retail industry, as retailers accumulate more and more personal information on their customers.
“The rise of online shopping, loyalty programmes, digital marketing and offering electronic receipts in store mean that even a small multiple retailer will be gathering exactly the kind of data that hackers will be looking for.”
The report states that due to rising wages and business rates costs, investing in cybersecurity was often low on retailer’s agenda.
New legislation coming into place next year on data protection regulations is expected to force firms to take the problem more seriously.
RPC partner Jeremy Drew said: “Retailers are a goldmine of personal data but their high profile nature and sometimes aging complex systems make them a popular target for hackers.”
“We do expect investment to increase both in stopping breaches occurring in the first place and ensuring that if they do happen they are found quickly and contained.
“No UK retailer wants to be in the position of some public examples who were forced to confirm that it took them nearly a year to close a data security breach.”