NRF: Retailers Committed to Protecting Consumer Data

Establishing Retail Information Sharing & Analysis Center cybersecurity center

Published in CSP Daily News

Tom Litchford

WASHINGTON -- The National Retail Federation (NRF) earlier this month told a congressional panel that the retail industry is committed to safeguarding and protecting consumer data and information from highly motivated and sophisticated cybercriminals and hackers.

"Retailers make significant investments every year in order to protect [consumer] data," NRF vice president for retail technologies Tom Litchford testified. "Collectively, retailers spend billions of dollars annually to safeguard data and fight fraud, as well as hundreds of millions annually on [credit card security] compliance."

Litchford testified before a field hearing of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection & Security Technologies, where he outlined specific steps that the nation's retailers are pursuing and implementing to identify, prevent and combat cyberattacks.

He described NRF's support for immediately transitioning away from fraud-prone credit cards that us 1960s technology (magnetic-stripe and signature) to more advanced and secure cards that incorporate a personal identification number or PIN or chip and PIN cards that include a computer microchip.

PIN-based cards, along with data encryption and tokenization, would help prevent cybercriminals from monetizing consumer financial information and provide better fraud protection for retailers, banks and consumers than proprietary Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) technology that does not require the use of a PIN.

"Chip and PIN technology dramatically reduces the value of any stolen 'breached' data for in-store purchases because the payment card data is essentially rendered worthless to criminals," Litchford said. "The failure of U.S. card networks and banks to adopt such a system in the United States is one reason why cyberattacks on brick-and-mortar retailers have increased."

Litchford shared that the nation's retailers are pursuing the establishment of a Retail Information Sharing & Analysis Center(Retail ISAC) that would provide retailers and merchants (NRF members and non-members) with actionable and timely threat intelligence to help identify and mitigate cyber risks.

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