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Hackers Target Retailers, Food-and-Beverage

February 15, 2013

A new report from Trustwave, the “2013 Global Security Report”, contained some disturbing news for businesses along the Delaware-Maryland coast.

The many retail and food-and-beverage businesses along the coast need to be on guard when it comes to their data, especially their customers’ information.

According to the study, those two industries, which make up a large percentage of coastal businesses, were the primary targets of cyber criminals in 2012, with 69 percent of data breach investigations at retail and food-and-beverage companies.

Retail is the prime target of cyber criminals, accounting for 45 percent of the data breaches Trustwave investigated. Food-and-beverage companies accounted for 24 percent of the breaches.

Cyber criminals target those businesses because they have so much data, especially customer credit card information, that can be used and then re-sold to other criminals.

But even better for cyber criminals, those small businesses typically think they aren’t large enough to be attractive to a hacker, so they don’t pay enough attention to securing that data. And that makes those businesses, and their customers, appealing targets.

The main culprit TrustWave cites in these breaches is weak password protection, i.e. using ‘Password1’ because it meets Microsoft’s password complexity requirements for at least 8 characters, one number and one capital letter.

In our own experience, we see many merchants who still don’t comply with the PCI Data Security Standard mandated by Visa and MasterCard several years ago.

The bottom line is this — you’re not too small to hack. Anti-virus software isn’t enough. You must be aware of the bag of tricks hackers deploy to separate you from your information and your money, tricks that easily out-maneuver any anti-virus software.

The full report will be available from Trustwave on Feb. 20 at https://www2.trustwave.com/2013GSR.html (registration required).

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