The retail industry steps up the fight against cyber-threats
The retail industry steps up the fight against cyber-threats

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has today launched a cyber-security “toolkit” that will provide retail businesses of all sizes with a practical, step-by-step guide to prevent and manage cyber-security threats and protect the customers they serve.

The BRC Cyber Security Toolkit, launched in London today by the BRC and Home Office Minister Sarah Newton MP, aims to provide retailers with practical guidance to ensure they have the appropriate preventative and response measures in place to reduce their vulnerabilities and to protect both themselves and their customers.

For retailers, the online market has seen huge growth in recent years with online sales growing by around 10 to 15 percent each year. The same period has seen the parallel rise of ever more elaborate forms of cyber-related crimes against both retail businesses and online shoppers.

In developing this toolkit, the BRC and its members were driven by a desire to keep pace with the evolving risks associated with operating online and also to ensure they meet customer expectations around the protection of personal data.

The toolkit's recommendations to retail businesses include: establishing cyber-security as a board-level issue, retail-specific information-sharing, completing a cyber-security risk assessment, and creating an incident response plan. The toolkit also provides a guide to preparing, responding, recovering and reviewing attacks.

Consumers spend approximately one in four pounds online. According to the BRC Annual Retail Crime Survey 2016, an estimated 53 percent of reported fraud in the retail industry is cyber-enabled, which represents a total direct cost of around £100 million.

Dr Ian Levy, technical director at the National Cyber-Security Centre said: “The retail sector is vital to the UK's economic well-being and both the sector and its supply chain are increasingly reliant on online safety and security. The NCSC is delighted to be working with the BRC in finding innovative ways to make the UK a safe place for citizens, e-commerce, small businesses and large chains to do retail business online. We are committed to giving individuals and businesses of all sizes confidence to deliver success in our increasingly digitalised economy, and were pleased to support the development of this toolkit.”

Sarah Newton, minister for vulnerability, safeguarding and countering extremism said: “Crime is changing and so the way we all work to tackle it must change too. We are already taking world-leading action to stamp out cyber-crime and fraud, including investing £1.9 billion in cyber-security over five years. But as we have said, the government cannot do this alone. Businesses have a responsibility to take steps to protect themselves and their customers, which is why we are delighted that the BRC has introduced their cyber-security toolkit to help retailers to do so.”