Although moves have been made to increase cybersecurity, industry professionals are calling for more improvement, on a federal level.
Tom Litchford, vice president of retail technology for National Retail Federation, has represented retailers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), hosted by the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. This event focused on trends and challenges to improving cybersecurity in the retail industry.
Cybersecurity in Retail: Trends and Challenges with Point of Sale and Payment Technologies took place at the University of Maryland’s campus in Rockville. NIST is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“Cybersecurity is a perpetual game of high-stakes leapfrog for retailers, but it is a challenge they are tackling head-on,” said Tom Litchford, vice president of retail technology with NRF. “Protecting customer relationships is the highest priority for retailers. As cybercriminals become more sophisticated in their attacks, legitimate businesses and the government must work together more closely to defend against threats. I’m pleased to lend the voice of NRF’s members to this discussion and hope it leads to even greater collaboration to improve data security.”
“As the national lab for cybersecurity, we are focused on accelerating the adoption of secure technologies within U.S. businesses, and it is clear that the retail industry is committed to doing so as well,” said Nate Lesser, deputy director with the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. “We look forward to collaborating with the NRF and its members to ensure that our work is relevant and useful to retailers and can help them improve their security and better protect consumer information.”
NRF has launched a proactive and sustained campaign to combat consumer data theft and fraud, identify solutions and protect retail customers. For years, NRF has called for chip-and-PIN cards, which store customer data on a computer microchip and require use of a secret number rather than a fraud-prone signature to approve a transaction.
Beyond chip-and-PIN, NRF is seeking passage of federal legislation making it easier to share information about cyber crimes in order to learn how to better secure retailers’ systems.
NRF also promotes information sharing in the retail community with its IT Security Council, which boasts nearly 200 participating chief information security officers from across the retail industry. The Council oversees NRF’s Cybersecurity Threat Alert System which provides timely, actionable notification to member companies about critical security threats facing the retail industry. The IT Security Council also provides a forum for members to collaborate and exchange information, develop and share industry best practices for an effective data security plan and be a united voice in educating lawmakers about what is needed to combat cybercrime, data theft and the resulting fraud.