Recent reports show that most data breaches occur within the retail industry, revealing a major trend in cybercrime and credit card fraud. Other industries often targeted by hackers and cybercriminals include hospitality and food, but the retail industry accounts for nearly half of all global data breaches.
Troubling Numbers for the Retail Industry
The Trustwave report revealed that 43% of data breaches occurred through the retail industry. Pulling data from 15 countries and 500 cases, the data breach report also concluded that food and beverage breaches accounted for 13%, while hospitality breaches accounted for 12%. Of the total number of breaches evaluated, 42% were e-commerce breaches, and 40% were POS breaches. This signals a move away from terminal skimming toward online database hacking. The troubling statistic here is the high number of retail industry breaches. Consumers spend the most in this industry all around the world, making retailers easy targets for cybercrime. While famous data breaches like the ones at Target, The Home Depot, and Neiman Marcus get the news headlines, people often forget that smaller retailers are targeted almost everyday.
Criminals Cashing Out on Data Breaches
Another thing the Trustwave report revealed was that most cybercriminals can cash out with an ROI of almost 1500% when stealing consumer data from merchants. This is most often accomplished by using a crimeware kit, a programming tool that allows someone to exploit consumer data without writing or rewriting code. Spending a few dollars on one of these can result in a payday of thousands more.
How Merchants Can Protect Themselves
Credit card fraud is a real problem, and data breaches can be devastating for retailers. However, if merchants are properly prepared, they can stop fraud before it happens. A good first step for merchants to take is to become PCI compliant. Next, merchants should stay vigilant and monitor activity that occurs within their database. Reporting any suspicious activity at first notice could protect thousands or millions of consumers from fraud.