3 min read  | Retail industry

The costliest cybersecurity challenges affecting the retail industry

The e-commerce industry has become so fundamental to Australia’s economy. E-commerce and the online economy are topics of widespread interest; more so, after the pandemic. In the speculation of what behaviours will stay, post-pandemic, one trend that is expected to continue is the massive uptick in e-commerce.

New local trends reveal that the online retail volume saw a 29% increase from March to April this year. The trends demonstrate unexpected patterns. Australians seem to have focussed on looking and feeling good.

It’s not only the retail trends of shoppers that have increased. An increase of digital transactions, contactless payment, and deliveries have also been detected. This transition, while safer in light of COVID-19, has also exposed plenty of security gaps.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s published a report on this very matter. It revealed that the Australian retail sector was the third-most targeted industry when it comes to cyber attacks.

In this post, we do a quick dive into the financial burden that comes with the cyber threats that impact the retail sector.

The cost of a cybersecurity attack on the economy

Aust Cyber recently published Australia’s Digital Trust Report 2020. This portrayed the potential financial damage of a cybersecurity strike on the country’s economy. It revealed that a four-week digital disruption would directly cost Australia’s economy 163,000 jobs and AUD $30 billion in losses.

The report further found that the impact could significantly increase when the “loss of trust in digital infrastructure and data integrity” is considered.

In comparison, this impact of AUD $30 billion is equal to ¾ of Australia’s annual defence budget. It is also similar to 40% of the Australian health budget. Meaning, a month-long cyber threat would certainly cripple the Australian economy.

The cost of a cybersecurity attack on the retail industry

The same report discusses the impact such a disruption can have on the online retail industry. According to the data, the online retail sector will have the third-highest impact.

What's more alarming are the costs that this entails. In losses, the online retail industry will face AUD $2.2 billion in GDP and 18,558 jobs.

The top cyber threats that affected Australia in 2020

According to another report on the biggest cyber threats that impacted Australian businesses during the height of the pandemic (March and April) ransomware was at the top.

This accounted for a 10% growth in ransomware attacks. Yet, this was mostly focussed on healthcare, logistics, and the media.

The second-most widespread cyber threat aside from ransomware is phishing attacks. There was a surge during the pandemic with 7.9% of attacks occurring being phishing scams. These scams were based on themes related to the virus.

Phishing attacks are one of the oldest tricks in the book. Yet, they are still being used by adversaries today—and successfully at that. Using social engineering tactics, phishing scams can come in many forms.

In 2020, Australians have experienced an increase in several phishing attacks including:

  • Government impersonation phishing scams on tax and superannuation
  • Online shopping and package delivery phishing scams targeting people doing their Christmas shopping

The report also provided proof of adware being the dominant malware-based attack across all Android threats detected in 2020, globally. This accounted for almost 50% in Q1, over 27% in Q2, and 29% in Q3.

In Australia, over 18,500 users reported being adware victims on mobile this year. The study detected peaks in these specific cyber threats in February, April, and May.

Safeguard your e-commerce operations with the support of Triskele Labs

Triskele Labs is a certified cybersecurity company and consultancy firm based in Australia. We specialise in providing businesses with innovative cybersecurity solutions to safeguard their business integrity, trust and profit.

Our solutions are tailored to allow you to focus on what matters most.

Reach out to our team at Triskele Labs and find out how our teams can assist you. We undertake holistic cybersecurity solutions including PCI DSS implementation. With our support, safeguard your business operations and prepare for the future of e-commerce.