Data Breaches & Retail
A Guide for Retail Business Owners

Which Retailers Are Most Vulnerable to Data Breaches?
What Is a Hacker?

Before we go any further, we should take a second to talk about hackers and cyber criminals. You've probably read about "hackers" in news stories about data breaches. The word may conjure the image of a cyber punk with green hair. The word "hacker" implies that there is someone out there who is specifically going after your company. But this stereotype isn't accurate at all.

Instead of "hacker," you should really be thinking about this person as a criminal or thief. Hackers are cyber thugs who use technology to break open your network and steal data that they can sell or use to commit fraud.

Having trouble believing that a hacker would target you? Then here's a wakeup call: many cyber criminals are merely committing "crimes of opportunity." Just as burglars might pass an unmanned delivery truck and grab some goods, cyber criminals strike businesses if the opportunity presents itself. For example, it might happen like this:

  • They use automated software to scan your business.
  • They test whether you're vulnerable to certain attacks.
  • They smash open your network to see if there's anything valuable inside.
  • They might not steal much of anything, but you'll have to deal with the extraordinary cleanup costs.

While Hollywood portrays hackers as computer wizards with funny hair, the reality is that, like other criminals, they're just looking to cause damage, steal valuable property, and commit fraud. They're looking to get quick money by robbing your store's data.

Next: How Do Data Breaches Happen to Retailers?

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