A study has shown that nearly half of all web application cyber-attack campaigns target retail applications.
According to the latest web application attack report by security firm Imperva, the retail sector seems to be the most heavily targeted by this type of attack.
The report was based on the analysis of 99 applications over nine months by the company's Application Defense Centre research team.
The study found that 40% of all SQL injection attacks and 64% of all malicious HTTP traffic campaigns target retail sites.
Amichai Shulman, chief technology officer at Imperva said: "Our study shows that retail sites are a big target for hackers. This is largely due to the data that retail websites store - customer names, addresses, credit card details - which cyber criminals can use and sell in the cyber crime underworld.
"Over the past year we have seen a number of retailers suffer data breaches and I expect this will continue."
Shulman said that according to the previous web application attack report, retail sites suffered twice as many SQL injection attacks in comparison to other industry sectors.
Shulman added: "Given that the study findings have not improved for retailers over the last year, I would say this threat is not showing any signs of diminishing."
Consumer information - such as personal and credit cards details are valuable tradable pieces of black market information.
Shulman said: "Retailers must take the threat of cyber attack very seriously.
"Over the past year we have seen some very well known, and seemingly secure, retail websites hit by devastating cyber attacks and these should act as a warning to others in the industry."
According to Shulman, retailers should be locking down their datacentres and databases; making sure all data is encrypted.
Ross Brewer, vice-president and managing director of international markets at LogRythym said retailers must not take short cuts when it comes to protecting their customers' data.
He said: "If they are not continuously tracking and monitoring their networks for anomalous activity, then they are not doing a good enough job at proactively defending against cyber crime.
Major retailers like John Lewis and Asda will be on red alert this weekend as the busiest online shopping weekend of the year approaches.
Return to internet news headlines
View Internet News Archive