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What cyber attacks do retailers face?

Every day retailers and ecommerce stores have access to key information such as customer payment details and personal data such as addresses, dates of birth and email addresses. With this in mind, it is no wonder that 24% of cyber-attacks are aimed at retailers.

Whether a retail business has a physical premise or an online store, there have been examples of both facing cyber-attacks in recent times. A major data breach occurred at fast fashion online store, SHEIN which affected in the region of 6.42 million customers. Cyber criminals were able to gain access to the company’s servers and steal the personal information of SHEIN’s customers.

Cybercriminals have had to adapt to the enhanced security measures that online stores put into place, but these measures have not stopped retailers from falling foul to attacks in high volume, peak shopping seasons such as Black Friday, Prime Day and the Christmas period.

Whilst businesses are at risk of falling victim to cyber-attacks, it is consumers who often get caught short. Last-minute shoppers and those looking for a good deal are often less diligent in what they access, how they access it and are quick to make a purchase.

Both retailers and consumers need to be vigilant and aware of scams, including fake missed delivery notifications or suspicious emails that lead to never-before-seen webpages.

To help raise awareness of the risks that cybercrime poses to the retail industry, it’s important to highlight the types of attack the industry faces and what businesses in the sector can do to minimise/prevent these types of attacks from occurring.

Below are the top 6 attacks that we see retailers facing, click on the headings to view the full details:

Social media account compromise

If your retail business uses social media platforms (such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram), it's important you take steps to reduce the likelihood of damaging content being posted on your behalf. Social media account compromise occurs when someone with unauthorised access hacks or hijacks your profile. This usually occurs as a result of your password being compromised, providing access to your accounts and any other accounts that are linked to the same password.

There are common signs that can help you to identify if your account has been compromised, they range from your password being changed without your permission/you making the change, your contacts/customers reporting strange messages, logins from unusual locations and receiving emails notifying you of unusual activity. To avoid your business accounts being compromised, you should:

  • Avoid signing up to websites and apps with your personal or business social media accounts.

  • Avoid using weak passwords and saving your login credentials in browsers, instead you should use a secure password manager.

  • Do not connect to public Wi-Fi and using social media accounts.

  • Avoid using the same login credentials across multiple platforms.

  • Avoid clicking on suspicious links in your inbox.

  • Do not log into your social media accounts with a shared computer.

Credential stuffing

Point-of-Sale attacks

Web skimming

Social engineering

Hopefully you will now know a little more about the types of attacks that retailers face and also, are now aware of some steps to take to help prevent these attacks happening to your business.

If you would like to learn how you can further improve your business’s cyber security, please take a look at the free membership available with the Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands.

With this membership, you will receive regular tips and guidance on how to firm up your business’s cyber security. We have already produced checklists for you to follow to help you develop best practices, short and easy to follow videos that highlight how to spot the signs of a phishing attack and many other resources.

Sign up to receive our helpful welcome pack so that you can start protecting your business today.

The contents of this website are provided for general information only and are not intended to replace specific professional advice relevant to your situation. The intention of The Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands is to encourage cyber resilience by raising issues and disseminating information on the experiences and initiatives of others.  Articles on the website cannot by their nature be comprehensive and may not reflect most recent legislation, practice, or application to your circumstances. The Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands provides affordable services and Trusted Partners if you need specific support. For specific questions please contact us.


The Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands does not accept any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information or materials published on this document. The Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands is not responsible for the content of external internet sites that link to this site or which are linked from it.

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