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PCI Pal 2022 Predictions: Fraud is going back to basics in 2022

vmblog predictions 2022 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2022.  Read them in this 14th annual series exclusive.

Fraud is going back to basics in 2022

By Geoff Forsyth, CISO at PCI Pal

The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic could only be described as "unprecedented;" however, as we near the third year of its ubiquity, maybe it's time to get rid of the notion that things are going to return to normal and begin embracing a new, increasingly digital future.

2021 was marked with increased vaccination rates, lockdowns lifted and stimulus checks to burn. Plus, many major retailers hit hard by the pandemic made a comeback, including Macy's, Footlocker and Kohl's. But even with the slight bounce back we witnessed in 2021, as the future proves time and again to be uncertain, the brick and mortar retail industry is undergoing a major digital transformation.

Digital and card-not-present payments all but took over this past year, but the real surprise was the continued popularity of online shopping, even after lockdowns were lifted. According to PCI Pal's third annual holiday shopping survey, those who said they would be doing their shopping online increased again this year to 64.8%, while those shopping in-stores dropped by over 10%.

But this level of transformation is also why retail is the prime target for fraud and financial crime. So how should these retailers re-evaluate their security postures and compliance practices in the new year?

  1. Out with the new, back in with the old? As card-not-present transactions continue to take the lead over card-present, retail sites are likely to be compromised in already familiar ways, like third-party scripts or attacks. Throughout the past two years, although technology has grown at an exceptionally fast rate, cybersecurity knowledge and awareness has remained alarmingly low, opening vendors and shoppers up to more and more cybercrime. In fact, in 2021 one in three people reported having been a victim of a data security breach or fraud (PCI Pal, 2021 Holiday Survey). And because fraudsters are finding success in leveraging the same old tricks as in years past, we will continue to see these methods used - no need for innovation. At the same time, new security measures, patches, protocols and plans to address these vulnerabilities are also flooding the market causing a bit of confusion for vendors. In the new year, retailers should really revisit security measures that have been proven to work in the past. This will help simplify the mess of new solutions out there.
  2. But, really, let's prioritize security. 2021 saw digital payments take off in popularity, including contactless payments and those using biometric authentication and/or smart speakers. As we look ahead, more digitization is in our future as retailers plan to adopt AI and robotics. Now more than ever, cybersecurity needs to be top of mind for businesses and consumers. The uptick in cybercrime has proven that many retailers, including some of the biggest brands in the world, are lagging when it comes to updating security policies and procedures as society becomes increasingly digital. In 2022, businesses should prioritize the improvement and strengthening of preexisting security strategies.
  3. Long road ahead for the acceptance of cryptocurrencies. Although cryptocurrencies have made great strides in adoption over the past year, we expect it will still be quite a while until it is a commonly used form of payment. Governments have yet to get on board, becoming a major obstacle in the adoption of cryptocurrencies. Some governments, like Turkey, Nigeria and Vietnam, have even gone so far as to ban the new payment option altogether. Digitally savvy retailers will need to examine their customer bases to determine if crypto is right for them - but as it stands now, you're not missing much.

As our world becomes increasingly digital, the prevalence of cybercrime grows. Although governments are doing their best to investigate and shut down major cybercrime rings, it is up to the everyday consumer and vendor to be knowledgeable about security best practices. Moving forward, the retail industry will only continue to evolve from a technology standpoint. As Omicron and other subsequent variants prolong the pandemic's lifetime, digital payments will become more and more normalized. The future is digital, and fraudsters and cybercriminals are well aware. Retailers will need to plan accordingly.



Geoff Forsyth 

Geoff Forsyth, BEng, CEng, FBCS, CITP, FRSA is the Chief Information Security Officer for PCI Pal - the global provider of secure payment solutions. In his role, Forsyth is dedicated to maintaining the Group's existing information security strategy and standards to protect customers' data as the organization expands its operations globally and works with more enterprise-sized channel partners. Prior to PCI Pal, Forsyth was a founding member and Chief Technical Officer for IPPlus. Originally from the ‘grim north' (Manchester), Forsyth currently lives and works in the delightful county of Suffolk. He has three hobbies - computing, computing & computing. He is happily married with two sons.

Published Thursday, January 06, 2022 7:33 AM by David Marshall
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