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Vulnerabilities / Threats

6/24/2014
09:27 AM
Sara Peters
Sara Peters
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Despite Target, Retailers Still Weak On Third-Party Security

A new survey from TripWire shows mixed results about retailers' security practices.

The big Target breach last year was actually the second stage of an attack that began by breaching the retail giant's third-party HVAC subcontractor (although the general public seems to forget that fact). This should have taught companies a lesson about the risks of letting business partners run pell-mell around one's network without paying any mind to their own security posture. However, according to new research from TripWire, at least one-quarter of retailers have not yet learned that lesson.

On one end of the spectrum, 12% of retailers who responded say they require third-party partners to pony up regular reports on vulnerability scans on their network and Web applications. On the other end of the spectrum, 26% said, "We don't evaluate the security of our business partners."

In fact only 70% of respondents said that the Target breach affected the level of attention that their businesses' executives pay to security. This number was even lower (57%) for online-only retailers.

Happily, 60% of respondents said they could identify a breach within 72 hours, 7% said they could do it in a month, and 1% within three months. However, a full 20% simply admitted that they weren't confident they could identify breaches quickly -- and that's particularly discouraging if within three months is considered "quickly."

Some 18% confessed that they were "not at all confident" that their security controls could detect rogue applications (including malware), 35% said they were very confident, and the rest said they were "somewhat" confident.

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

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Marilyn Cohodas
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Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
6/30/2014 | 10:23:34 AM
Hard to believe
I find it hard to believe that 60% of respondents can really identify a breach within 72 hours. Maybe they get an alert, but what happens after that? 
Bprince
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Bprince,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2014 | 12:57:27 AM
Third-parties
On the other end of the spectrum, 26% said, "We don't evaluate the security of our business partners."

I'm glad you mentioned the HVAC contractor as the entry point. I think this breach should serve as as a reminder of just how interconnected businesses and their partners can be when it comes to network access and security and what the implications of that can be.

BP
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
6/24/2014 | 10:35:46 AM
Change the Game
We really need to get to a widespread chip-and-PIN system, which would make it harder for scammers to make duplicate credit cards w/ stolen card numbers. Tokenization would also go a long way in making stored data less of a target. Without these kinds of wholesale changes, even the most diligent and vigilant retailers are still going to be vulnerable.
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