The current pandemic has drastically altered the lives of many locked-down citizens, or employees of numerous organizations who have no choice but to work remotely. Among other consequences, this has led to an increase in online shopping, and since the beginning of this health crisis, Internet traffic has grown by 28 percent. Alongside this boom in commercial activity, cyberattacks have also multiplied, and are specifically affecting the retail sector.

Cyberattackers have taken advantage of the boom in online shopping, lurking among the shadows of this peak in seasonal traffic. Traditionally, the Christmas period is a time of year when retail sales are at their strongest, though, in 2020, Web traffic levels are expected to break previous records and with this boom comes an increased risk of cyberattacks

Attacks that target the retail sector_

So, what types of attacks are being used to target the retail sector? Bots figure predominantly in these kinds of incidents, accounting for over 98 percent of attacks recorded during the pandemic. A study by cybersecurity news portal Help Net Security identifies the leading sources of these attacks as the USA (30.93%), Russia (14.39%), and the Ukraine (12.92%). Bots in themselves don’t necessarily have a malicious component (many automated customer service systems depend on bots), but the problem arises when they are used with malicious aims. Analysts detected, on the other hand, that bots are also used by retailers to monitor competitors’ product ranges and prices.

Another type of attack currently blighting the e-commerce sector is one that leverages denial-of-service techniques, known as DDoS, and which can crash a server by saturating it with traffic. Analysts have also identified an increase in such attacks during 2020, with a spike in incidents in April, coinciding with national lockdowns and the consequent increase in online shopping.

Attacks on websites have also shot up in 2020, the most common of these being remote code execution (RCE) accounting for 21 percent of cases, followed by data leakage (20%), and cross-site scripting or XSS (16%). To give an idea of the magnitude of attacks on online commerce, nearly half of all incidents recorded in the United States using this technique have targeted the retail sector.

How can the retail sector protect itself?_

It is clear that the threats affecting retailers are becoming more varied and sophisticated, so trying to tackle them with traditional cybersecurity solutions may simply be inadequate. It is therefore advisable to have a comprehensive security solution able to stop these attacks in their tracks in a coordinated fashion. Cytomic EPDR combines, in a single stack, a set of preventive, protection technologies to counter all types of malware, whether known or unknown, thanks to the Zero Trust Application service, which prevents any binary from running until it is classified as trusted.

It also enables you to stay one step ahead of threats, thanks to early detection through continuous monitoring and behavior profiling. With deep analysis, it can detect any suspicious activity and take the action required to safeguard a company’s devices and data. This is achieved through the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning technologies to monitor all processes run on a system. It thereby detects any anomalous behavior and eliminates the danger before it has a chance to act.

Retailers can thereby protect their businesses and continue to operate online without hitches or incidents and take advantage of this key period with so many shoppers confined to home.