Half of more than 3,000 retail stores that a wireless security company secretly monitored at major shopping areas in the U.S. and Europe use wireless data systems vulnerable to hacking, the company said Thursday.
The data that stores routinely transmit on wireless networks include credit card and Social Security numbers and other sensitive customer information.
AirDefense Inc., an Atlanta-based maker of security products for wireless data systems, found that about 25 percent of the stores' 4,748 wireless access points were exchanging data with no encryption at all to foil electronic eavesdroppers.
Another 25 percent were using an outdated encryption method called Wireless Equivalent Privacy that is easily cracked by thieves using widely available tools.
The remaining half of the access points — the connections between wireless devices and computer networks — were using newer encryption methods that are considered far harder to crack.
In the generally unyielding area of retail loss prevention, a few U.S. corporations have been highly successful in staunching the pervasive problem of shrinkage—the $42-billion-a-year problem that refuses to go away. This article looks at five of these companies and highlights nine key approaches they have adopted that could potentially save U.S. retailing $18 billion a year.
Nine Keys to Lower Shrinkage
1. Establish senior management commitment to loss prevention
2. Ensure organizational ownership of shrink control
3. Embed loss prevention throughout the organization
4. Provide strong leadership and develop a multifunctional team
5. Use barometer or data-driven management
6. Make innovation and experimentation a priority
7. Talk shrink continuously to build awareness
8. Ensure process and procedural compliance
9. Empower store staff to take responsibility for shrink
According to the survey, the average technology influencer spends approximately 8 hours researching a product, versus the average US adult who spends 3.5 hours. Among those technology influencers who have purchased online, they convey that the main benefits of online shopping include easy price comparisons (91 percent), a greater variety of products (86 percent) and lower prices (79 percent). While they report finding retail stores lacking in the variety of products and product information, one of the most compelling aspects of brick and mortar is the ability to fulfill the need for instant gratification. For consumer electronic retailers and manufacturers, the study provides insights into areas where they can improve overall customer satisfaction and experience.