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National Retail Federation Testifies on Importance of Protecting Consumer Data

The National Retail Federation recently 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 sad. “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, and Security Technologies, where he outlined specific steps that the nation’s retailers are pursuing and implementing to identify, prevent and combat cyberattacks.

Push for More Fraud-Resistant Credit Cards

He described NRF’s steadfast support for immediately transitioning away from fraud-prone credit cards that utilize 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 or EMV technology that does not require the use of a PIN, Litchford said.

“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.”

Retail Information Sharing and Analysis Center

Litchford also said retailers are also pursuing the establishment of a Retail Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or 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.

“The retail industry is in a particularly good position to both benefit from and bring value to information sharing with outside organizations and entities,” Litchford said.

About Amanda Bell

Amanda Bell was an assistant editor of Hardware Retailing and NRHA. Amanda regularly visited with home improvement retailers across the country and attended industry events and seminars. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Ball State University and has received honors for her work for Hardware Retailing from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

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