The dramatic spread of COVID-19 is cracking down economies, and disrupting lives and livelihood worldwide. With the majority of the leading countries under quarantine, retailers are struggling to adapt to the daily changing scenario.
But, most importantly retailers need to think past the long term implications of the coronavirus threat and prepare for any ramification in advance.
Retailers during the COVID-19 crisis
As the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus patients is becoming outdated by the hour, here are a few points that grab attention.
- The virus does not compare to SARS; it is less fatal. But it’s transmission rate is around two times higher than common flu’s.
- The virus is categorized under four different stages of transmission viz appearance, local, community, and widespread. The “community spread” is getting worse in several countries; hence, the lockdown.
- The impact is huge for retailers but is different in different countries, categories, and customer demographics.
Now is the time to assess their risks, identity exposure loopholes, and create contingency plans to sustain in the drowning economy.
Yes, top priority remains “saving lives,” but retailers cannot afford to wait until the distant future to act.
The Wave Of Cyberattacks On Retailers
As countries across the world are shutting down their borders, isolating their cities, and retailers are going into hibernation, cybercriminals are becoming more active than ever. Amid the coronavirus fears, they are more likely to accelerate their infection-spread.
According to a report by Sophos Labs, more than 42,000 websites have been created with domains that are named after “COVID.”
A lot of these websites are doing the rounds since January and do not look legit. Therefore, it is only apparent how opportunistic cybercriminals are and how eagerly they are trying to exploit fears to gain advantage from the pandemic.
Consequently, scams are being devised for retailer customers. There is a surprising influx of spam emails containing links for COVID-19 updates, social media ads, and ads redirecting to unsolicited websites.
Cybersecurity Tips To Protect Retailers Amid COVID-19
Against the shady backdrop of cybercriminals waiting to take advantage of the coronavirus outbreak, here are a few precautions for retailers.
Keep the network clean.
The majority of cybercrimes revolve around payment as it can generate direct money. By compromising the payment gateway, attackers can copy monetary data to their shady infrastructure.
Therefore, keeping the network clean can harden the security of your web servers. Also, make sure that only the authorized person is allowed access to your critical assets.
Deploy regular audits.
Carefully scrutiny your network for any unauthorized alterations to your retail platform. Make sure no web hosting directories have been compromised. Try to do this often (especially now amid the COVID-19 fears).
But if it is not feasible, at least go for periodic manual reviews and employ regular patches for your database security protocols.
Be extra cautious about phishing attacks.
Keep your employees on a red alert to avoid suspicious emails about coronavirus updates, announcements, or urgent instructions.
These days, there has been a sizable uptick in the number of email scams where hackers send fraudulent invoices from what seems like from legitimate vendors.
Enabling multi-factor authentication will help you prevent such attacks. Additionally, exclude unverified vendors from mitigating threats further.
Allow no personal laptops while working from home.
Are your employees working from home? Remind them not to open their corporate accounts on their personal laptops. There are a lot of reasons, “why.”
For starters, it is difficult to keep track of documentation. Also, one cannot be too sure if their home accessories are up-to-date.
Practice industry-approved cybersecurity hygiene.
Now that your employees are working from home, train them to practice good cybersecurity hygiene. For example, ask them not to use Bluetooth in a public place and work on secure, password-protected wi-fi.
Keep organizational codes on your server so that no data is out in the open. Doing this will also prevent unwanted, unplanned alterations, and keep customer data safe.
The unplanned spread of COVID-19 has led to uncertainty in the retail sector. You must remain vigilant during this time so you can bounce back to business when the pandemic has passed.
Focus on what to do, protect your customers, secure business continuity, and activate all your emergency contacts to limit the possibilities of any cyber attack.