Kiwi retailers vulnerable to cyber threats

  • Technology
  • February 24, 2015
  • Elly Strang
Kiwi retailers vulnerable to cyber threats
Connect Smart

Information technology in the retail industry is crucial. It simplifies administration and enhances the service for shoppers.

Customer details and loyalty programmes, advertising, company data and accounting are handled through it.

Yet these benefits can easily backfire, says Ash.

He says leaving technology unsecure could risk pricing plans, business strategies and intellectual property being stolen.

“If you lose the trust of your customers, if your IP is stolen or company data is breached, you won’t stay in business very long,” he says. 

“Conversely, if you invest in good security practices, customers and staff can have confidence that you are looking after their information.”

Customers’ personal information is especially of interest to hackers.

High-profile data breaches in the United States have demonstrated just how much destruction cyber criminals can cause if they get hold of it.

A 2013 attack on the US chain Target’s point-of-sale system resulted in the details of 40 million credit cards being stolen.

Some of the repercussions of the hack included Target’s profits falling 46 percent while the company battled multiple lawsuits against banks and customers.

The damage control was estimated all up to cost $US61 million.

Localising the threats

Though our geographical isolation at the bottom of the world may give Kiwi business owners a false sense of comfort, Ash says cyber attacks are happening to retailers here too.

“Unfortunately the nature of internet technology and online payment systems means that the New Zealand retail sector is not immune to this threat,” he says.

Research by Vodafone in 2014 found that 56 percent of New Zealand businesses claimed to have been attacked at least once per year. Small businesses were also found to be the target of 30 percent of online attacks.

Ash says Kiwis tend to be a trusting bunch when it comes to cyber security.

He says they don’t realise how useful cyber criminals find personal or company information, which may explain why many people don’t secure their work devices.

Connect Smart research from April 2014 found that 56 percent of Kiwis don’t have a password on their work iPhone or tablet, and 48 percent don’t have a password on their work smartphone.

Vodafone research also recently found that 83 percent of lost iPhones compromised business data, showing how important it is for staff to have privacy training.

Safeguarding your business

 “The best way to overcome this is by building a culture of good security practices where everyone understands they have a role to play in protecting the information of the business,” Ash says.

He says business owners should think about their vulnerabilities, such as how their staff handle sensitive data and the way they use different mobile devices and USB drives.

Staff privacy training is also important, he says, as social media and internet privacy can be compromised both inside and outside of a work context.

As for actions that can be taken by individual staff members, he says it’s important to secure all devices so your smartphone or tablet is as safe as your computer.

“Protecting yourself also protects friends, family and work. Having your personal information compromised is more than an inconvenience and can have major consequences for you and everybody you know,” he says.

Ash says in 2015, SMEs should be on the lookout for reports about what’s going on in the cyber crime world and thinking about how it might affect their business.

Connect Smart is an initiative by the government’s national cyber policy office that promotes ways for individuals and businesses to protect themselves online.

For retailers, Connect Smart has worked with Vodafone to produce a SME toolkit that determines whether your business is vulnerable and what to do about it.

This involves a four-step process, where SME owners can assess their cyber security, develop a cyber security policy and an incident management plan, and review and update network security systems.

To view and download the free toolkit, click here

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Regional rollercoaster: Selling to the Kardashians from Matiere

  • News
  • April 24, 2019
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
Regional rollercoaster: Selling to the Kardashians from Matiere

In the final article from NZ Retail magazine's nine-part series on regional retail, we're sharing the amazing story of how SME retailer Solvej Swings got its product into the home of one of the world's most influential consumers.

Read more

Regional rollercoaster: Arrowtown

  • News
  • April 24, 2019
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
Regional rollercoaster: Arrowtown

We're examining seven regional towns as part of a wider series. This time, it's Arrowtown under the microscope.

Read more

Regional rollercoaster: Greymouth

  • News
  • April 24, 2019
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
Regional rollercoaster: Greymouth

How are retailers in Greymouth adapting to our dynamic business environment? As part of a nine-part series, we took a look.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Regional rollercoaster: Kaikoura

  • News
  • April 24, 2019
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
Regional rollercoaster: Kaikoura

As part of a series on regional retail, we examined seven towns to learn what makes some thrive and some dive. This article focuses on Kaikoura.

Read more

Regional rollercoaster: Bulls

  • News
  • April 23, 2019
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
Regional rollercoaster: Bulls

What does retail look like in 2019 for retailers in Bulls? We examined this regional centre as part of a wider series.

Read more

Regional rollercoaster: New Plymouth

  • News
  • April 23, 2019
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
Regional rollercoaster: New Plymouth

Why are some Kiwi retailers struggling in New Zealand's regions and some thriving? We put seven regional centres under the microscope to find out. This time, we're looking at New Plymouth.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit