Money & Business

Retail Group Launches Sharing Tool for Cyber Threats

By / May 16, 2014 (iStock/Thinkstock)

With data security concerns putting pressure on most retailers, the Retail Industry Leaders Association launched a clearinghouse intended to make it easier for retailers to pinpoint potential threats to their systems.

The retail industry—still stinging from the massive Target data breach, which led that company’s CEO to step down recently—is ready to put up extra lines of defense.

On Wednesday, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced the launch of the Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center (R-CISC), a clearinghouse for information related to possible security threats.

The initial list of partners represents something of a who’s who of retail, including names such as American Eagle, Gap, JCPenney, Safeway, Walgreens, and—oh yeah—Target. The idea is to encourage companies to share information on potential threats with each other and relevant authorities, such as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service, and Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as to train companies on what to do in to counter these risks.

“Retailers place extremely high priority on finding solutions to combat cyber attacks and protect customers,” RILA President Sandy Kennedy said in a statement. “In the face of persistent cyber criminals with increasingly sophisticated methods of attack, the R-CISC is a comprehensive resource for retailers to receive and share threat information, advance leading practices, and develop research relevant to fighting cyber crimes.”

The move comes three months after RILA helped launch a partnership with the financial industry on cybersecurity issues—at at time when the Obama administration was working on a cybersecurity solution of its own.

The retail industry could use the help. Beyond the Target breach, another large retail chain, Michaels, was hit by a data breach that affected as many as 3 million customers over eight months, according to CNN Money. And retail giants such as JCPenney have listed data security as a potential risk factor on their earnings reports.

A study released this week by professional services firm BDO USA found that more than nine in 10 retailers see data security as a risk factor, with many of those companies raising concerns about litigation risks.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now and a former newspaper guy. More »

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