IBM: Retail Cyber Attacks Becoming More Sophisticated

According to a study from IBM, cyber attacks against retailers in the United States decreased by 50% in 2014, but the number of records stolen from them remains at near record highs. IBM Security researchers indicated that in 2014, cyber attackers managed to steal more than 61 million records from retailers despite the decline in the number of attacks, demonstrating that cyber criminals have become more sophisticated and efficient, the company stated.

The company’s Managed Security Services team of analysts, who monitor more than 20 billion security incidents every day, created The 2014 Retail Research and Intelligence Report and the Holiday Trends: Black Friday/Cyber Monday Research and Intelligence Report to detail holiday trends as regards issues including security, IBM noted.

Cyber attackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, IBM asserted, using new techniques to obtain massive numbers of confidential records with increased efficiency. Since 2012, the number of breaches reported by retailers dropped by half, the company maintained, but those hacks had a greater impact per incident.

Despite the ongoing assault, IBM pointed out, the majority of cyber attackers scaled back their hacking efforts around Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2014 rather than capitalize on the annual retail spending spike.

“The threat from organized cyber crime rings remains the largest security challenge for retailers,” Kris Lovejoy, general manager, IBM Security Services, said in announcing the research. “It is imperative that security leaders and CISOs in particular, use their growing influence to ensure they have the right people, processes and technology in place to take on these growing threats.”