What can I do to protect my stores from cyberattacks?

Practical guidelines for retailers. Read it below, or feel free to download a PDF version. 

What can I do to protect my stores from cyberattacks?

Practical guidelines for retailers.

Read it below, or feel free to download a PDF version.

Still unsure if cyber gangs pose a real threat to your stores?
Consider this:

Still unsure if cyber gangs pose a real threat to your stores? Consider this:

In July 2021, Swedish supermarket chain Coop had to close over half of its stores because of a ransomware attack that directly impacted its cash registers.

In January 2021, fashion retailer FatFace paid a $2 million ransom to the Conti ransomware gang following a successful cyberattack on its systems.

In July 2021, Swedish supermarket chain Coop had to close over half of its stores because of a ransomware attack that directly impacted its cash registers.

In January 2021, fashion retailer FatFace paid a $2 million ransom to the Conti ransomware gang following a successful cyberattack on its systems.

It might cost you $200,000. Or it might cost you $10 million.

Can you afford it?

It might cost you $200,000. Or it might cost you $10 million.

Can you afford it?

Why are they attacking me?

The main driver for the majority of hackers is financial profit (cybercrime can be considered an industry itself). How can the bad guys make a living while targeting your business?

They will take the easiest route first – disrupt your business activities with ransomware and ask you to pay the price for it. They assume that when they stop you from selling and make you suffer gigantic losses, you will agree to pay the ransom to end the downtime.

Why are they attacking me?

The main driver for the majority of hackers is financial profit (cybercrime can be considered an industry itself). How can the bad guys make a living while targeting your business?

They will take the easiest route first – disrupt your business activities with ransomware and ask you to pay the price for it. They assume that when they stop you from selling and make you suffer gigantic losses, you will agree to pay the ransom to end the downtime.

To pay or not to pay?

Paying the ransom almost never pays off. Attackers might not deliver on a promise to stop the attack, or they could repeat it in the future (identifying the company who paid the ransom as a good target). Additionally, they might steal your customers’ personal and financial information, or your confidential data.

To pay or not to pay?

Paying the ransom almost never pays off. Attackers might not deliver on a promise to stop the attack, or they could repeat it in the future (identifying the company who paid the ransom as a good target). Additionally, they might steal your customers’ personal and financial information, or your confidential data.

How am I being attacked?

A successful ransomware attack results in the encryption of your data by hackers who will claim that after you pay the ransom, they will provide you with a decryption key to recover the data. Ransomware attacks in retail do not apply only to online stores – POS and suppliers’ systems are very common targets.

How am I being attacked?

A successful ransomware attack results in the encryption of your data by hackers who will claim that after you pay the ransom, they will provide you with a decryption key to recover the data. Ransomware attacks in retail do not apply only to online stores – POS and suppliers’ systems are very common targets.

Human factor

The scale of operations and digitization are not the only problems. Most security problems breathe. Every employee in your organization is an entry point to be attacked, for example through a malicious link in a phishing e-mail. Another significant issue is the internal threat – it comes from the intentional actions of people within an organization. Cyber gangs go as far as proposing money for your employees to plant ransomware in your network!

Human factor

The scale of operations and digitization are not the only problems. Most security problems breathe. Every employee in your organization is an entry point to be attacked, for example through a malicious link in a phishing e-mail. Another significant issue is the internal threat – it comes from the intentional actions of people within an organization. Cyber gangs go as far as proposing money for your employees to plant ransomware in your network!

The results of ransomware can be disastrous – revenue lost due to customer’s inability to make purchases,
together with loss of confidence in the retailer are just the first impacts. What is next?

The results of ransomware can be disastrous – revenue lost due to customer’s inability to make purchases, together with loss of confidence in the retailer are just the first impacts. What is next?

Data breach

Protecting your payment processing and customers’ personal data should be your highest priority. A cyberattack can not only disrupt your operations but also leak information, which can be later sold on the black market. A credit card number might sell for $110, and a U.S. passport for as much as $2,000 (source).

Lost data is in violation of the GDPR, so data breach may result in costly penalties and long-time reputation damage. Even if the breach is not your fault (the attack is on your suppliers’ systems, for example), you are the one who loses the trust of the customers, possibly for years.

Data breach

Protecting your payment processing and customers’ personal data should be your highest priority. A cyberattack can not only disrupt your operations but also leak information, which can be later sold on the black market. A credit card number might sell for $110, and a U.S. passport for as much as $2,000 (source).

Lost data is in violation of the GDPR, so data breach may result in costly penalties and long-time reputation damage. Even if the breach is not your fault (the attack is on your suppliers’ systems, for example), you are the one who loses the trust of the customers, possibly for years.

What are my weak points?

The scale of your vulnerability can be measured by the number of entry points to your systems.
Those entry points are:

What are my weak points?

The scale of your vulnerability can be measured by the number of entry points to your systems. Those entry points are:

  • Your POS systems
  • Your suppliers’ systems
  • Your employees’ devices
  • Your digital channels

Your POS systems

Your suppliers’ systems

Your employees’ devices

Your digital channels

What can I do to protect my business from ransomware?

Take care of the basics

Empower your employees with knowledge about how to recognize and respond to phishing e-mails and other social engineered attacks. Prevent the use of weak passwords and implement multi-factor authentication across all your systems.

Read more about MFA and how to implement it.

Stay in control of your data

Use cloud backup services to have several copies of data in case of a compromise. This will allow you to restore it back to a specific date and keep your systems operational.

Azure Backup is a service simplifying data recovery that does not require you to move all your systems to the cloud. It allows you to take advantage of cloud security to automatically back up your on-premises data.

Implement continuous security health monitoring

With cloud security services you don’t need a large in-house cybersecurity team to monitor your systems. Azure Security Center provides real-time visibility across workloads (cloud and on-premises) which will help you prevent, detect, and respond to cyber threats.

Unsure if your people have the right skills to handle it? You can outsource the job to an organization running a Managed Security Operations Center.

Have a response plan in place

Both in terms of business continuity and data recovery. Establishing your disaster recovery and business continuity plans will reduce the impact of cybersecurity events and help you get back to normal faster.

Read more about what to do after a ransomware attack.

 

What can I do to protect my business from ransomware?

1. Take care of the basics

Empower your employees with knowledge about how to recognize and respond to phishing e-mails and other social engineered attacks. Prevent the use of weak passwords and implement multi-factor authentication across all your systems.

Read more about MFA and how to implement it.

2. Stay in control of your data

Use cloud backup services to have several copies of data in case of a compromise. This will allow you to restore it back to a specific date and keep your systems operational.

Azure Backup is a service simplifying data recovery that does not require you to move all your systems to the cloud. It allows you to take advantage of cloud security to automatically back up your on-premises data.

3. Implement continuous security health monitoring

With cloud security services you don’t need a large in-house cybersecurity team to monitor your systems. Azure Security Center provides real-time visibility across workloads (cloud and on-premises) which will help you prevent, detect, and respond to cyber threats.

Unsure if your people have the right skills to handle it? You can outsource the job to an organization running a Managed Security Operations Center.

4. Have a response plan in place

Both in terms of business continuity and data recovery. Establishing your disaster recovery and business continuity plans will reduce the impact of cybersecurity events and help you get back to normal faster.

Read more about what to do after a ransomware attack.

 

Are all these security features going to cost me a lot?

They will, but… not nearly as much as a security incident. Look, you probably wouldn’t think twice about insuring your holidays abroad. Even though the chance of breaking your leg is low, the medical and transportation costs would be so high that no one wants to take that risk.

The difference between insurance and cybersecurity is that there is only a tiny risk that you will break your leg, while cyberattack attempts are certain. Every second Artificial Intelligence scans all your weak spots. Every second someone tries to send malware in e-mails.

Then why do so few businesses care about their cybersecurity?

The common mistake is assuming “It won’t happen to me”.

It will. It might already be happening.

Are all these security features going to cost me a lot?

They will, but… not nearly as much as a security incident. Look, you probably wouldn’t think twice about insuring your holidays abroad. Even though the chance of breaking your leg is low, the medical and transportation costs would be so high that no one wants to take that risk.

The difference between insurance and cybersecurity is that there is only a tiny risk that you will break your leg, while cyberattack attempts are certain. Every second Artificial Intelligence scans all your weak spots. Every second someone tries to send malware in e-mails.

Then why do so few businesses care about their cybersecurity?

The common mistake is assuming “It won’t happen to me”.

It will. It might already be happening.

Let the numbers speak for themselves:

Let the numbers speak for themselves:

The average cost of a cybersecurity breach in 2020 was $3.86 million.

Breached data costs businesses $150 for every customer record that is compromised. Multiply this by the number of customers you have.

A Managed Security Operations Center costs around $15,000 per month (that’s $180,000 annually). This choice is a no-brainer.

Managed SOC

Secure your IT environment with Microsoft services and on-call cybersecurity analysts.

Managed SOC

Secure your IT environment with Microsoft services and on-call cybersecurity analysts.

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