Hacking attempts could make Cyber Monday costly for merchants
For many retailers, Cyber Monday represents one of the most significant sales days during the year, particularly for ecommerce sites. According to a study from RSA and the Ponemon Institute, the average amount of online retail revenue rises 55 percent on the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday. The increase in customer traffic can potentially cause performance issues, but as long as capable ecommerce software and server preparations have been made, merchants can facilitate a stress-free shopping experience.
However, retail industry professionals should be aware of one problem associated with Cyber Monday: cyberattacks. The Ponemon and RSA study noted that the holiday shopping date invites malicious parties to assault ecommerce sites. Even as merchants experience unprecedented online sales, they may also be losing as much as $8,000 per minute due to hackers. As customer churn and brand damage are both potential risks when services go offline, the study suggested that larger retailers might lose up to $3.4 million from an hour-long disruption.
Because of this issue, retailers should ensure that all levels of their online operations are prepared for cyberattacks before Cyber Monday's arrival. Just as measures should be in place to handle the increased volume of Web traffic on that date, similar protections should exist for hacking attempts.
"Forward-thinking organizations that have the agility to break from the status quo and embrace innovation can not only better protect their business, but also gain a massive advantage," said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of The Ponemon Institute. "Reducing losses from fraud and increasing trust in the brand can propel a business ahead of its competitors."
The study highlighted that tracking and understanding Web traffic can let retailers recognize the source of an attack and react appropriately. As is, only 23 percent of IT retail staff respondents to the study felt that they were adequately prepared to quickly detect and react to disruptions. In many instances, these incidents involve distributed denial of service attempts, app store fraud, eCoupon abuse, account hijacking and other types of hacking. Some of these can be avoided with a secure point of sale system, but others require working with IT and web masters to ensure everything runs smoothly on the most intensive day for online shopping. With Cyber Monday taking place in December this year, merchants still have time to prepare their systems before the sales date.