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Study: Many UK Retail, Financial Firms Still Don't Understand Security Risks

Despite recent breaches, many UK retailers and financial firms haven't upgraded their online security strategies.

Despite a recent spate of breaches affecting their industries, many UK retailers and financial firms still aren't taking the steps they need to protect their data online, according to a study published Wednesday.

The survey of UK retail and financial firms, conducted by Atomic Research and sponsored by security vendor Tripwire, indicates that many companies in both industries still are not sure if their defenses are adequate to protect customer data. Nearly a quarter of respondents (24 percent) have already suffered a data breach involving personally identifiable information.

Thirty-six percent of respondents do not have confidence in their cyber incident response plans, the study says. Fifty-one percent of respondents are only somewhat confident that their security controls can detect malicious applications. Just 60 percent of UK retailers and financial firms feel that their systems have been hardened enough to prevent a breach similar to those seen recently in the news.

Sixty percent of respondents said they remain confident that their security controls will be able to prevent the loss of data files. Forty percent said they do not believe that recent high-profile breaches have changed the level of attention executives give to security.

While most security professionals regard the Payment Card Industry's Data Security Standard as a bare minimum, 43 percent of survey respondents said PCI is the "backbone" of their security programs. Thirty-six percent said PCI is half of their security programs.

"It is great that recent breaches have increased cybersecurity awareness and internal dialogue," says Dwayne Melancon, CTO at Tripwire. "However, the improved internal communication may be biased by a false sense of security. For example, 95 percent of respondents said they would be able to detect a breach on critical systems within a week. In reality, nearly all of the recent publicly disclosed breaches have gone on for months without detection." 

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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