The UK retail industry is to tackle cyber crime head on with the publication of a new resource pack designed to help retailers protect their businesses from online criminals and ensure their customers’ personal data isn’t compromised. 

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) says its Cyber Security Toolkit is the first of its kind and will support retailers in putting a proper cyber security plan in place, giving them information on how to prepare for, manage and respond to cyber attacks.

The publication of the toolkit comes as retail transactions increasingly take place online and cyber criminals view the retail industry as a prime target. The online retail market has grown significantly in recent years – online sales are growing by as much as 15 percent each year and around one in every four pounds is now spent online.

While this shift has evolved, so too have cyber criminals, who are getting more and more sophisticated in their methods of attack. Alongside healthcare and financial services, the retail industry is a prime target for hackers, thanks to the number of transactions taking place and the amount of customer data held by companies.

The Cyber Security Toolkit, launched in London recently by the BRC and MP and Home Office minister Sarah Newton, is designed to help retailers keep up-to-date with the risks that come with doing business online, as well as ensure their customers are confident that their data is being protected.

The kit will help retailers:

– Make cyber security a board-level issue

– Complete a cyber security risk assessment for their business

– Create an incident response plan in the event of an attack.

Figures published last year by the BRC suggest 53 percent of reported fraud in the UK retail industry is done online – representing a total direct cost of £100 million.

Hugo Rosemont, an adviser on crime and security at the BRC, said lots should be done to keep one of the world’s leading e-commerce markets ahead of the game.

“The BRC Cyber Security Toolkit is designed to equip British retailers with the know-how, guidance and practical support that will help the industry stay ahead of the ever-evolving threats posed by cyber-related criminality,” he said.

“All parts of the retail industry have a large and growing stake in keeping customers safe and secure, and the industry is committed to ensuring the strongest possible measures are in place – all the way through from prevention to incident response.”