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Retailers are facing a rising tide of internet-related threats

The BRC has launched a new weapon against cyber-crime, after recent figures showed retailers are facing a rising tide of internet-related threats.

Its new cyber-security ‘toolkit’ aims to provide retail businesses of all sizes with a practical, step-by-step guide to prevent and manage cyber-security threats and protect customers.

The toolkit, launched in London by Home Office minister Sarah Newton today, follows the growth of online sales of about 10% to 15% a year, which has seen a parallel rise in cyber-crime activity.

Last month, the BRC said the ever-more sophisticated forms of crime were being used against retailers, including phishing, theft of consumer data and a host of other increasingly elaborate scams.

While crimes such as hacking and data breaches represented 5% of the total direct cost of crime to retail businesses - or £36m a year, with 53% of fraud enabled online - the figure jumped to 15% of the total cost of crime, or £100m.

The survey, which came just three months after Tesco was rocked by scandal after cyber-criminals stole money from thousands of accounts, revealed the attack on the UK’s biggest retailer as just the tip of the iceberg.

The BRC has slammed the authorities for the state of digital policing and called for an urgent debate on other measures that can be taken.

“Crime is changing and so the way we all work to tackle it must change too,” said Newton.

“We are already taking world-leading action to stamp out cyber-crime and fraud, including investing £1.9bn in cyber-security over five years but as we have said, the government cannot do this alone.

“Businesses have a responsibility to take steps to protect themselves and their customers, which is why we are delighted that the BRC has introduced their cyber-security toolkit to help retailers to do so.”

Hugo Rosemont, BRC policy adviser on crime, said: “The UK is one of the leading e-commerce markets in the world. The BRC cyber-security toolkit is designed to equip British retailers with the know-how, guidance and practical support that will help the industry stay ahead of the ever-evolving threats posed by cyber-related criminality.”