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Online Security Crackdown

BY CSA STAFF

Backlashes from these incidents are beginning to affect online-shopper confidence, with one-third of consumers saying they are “extremely” or “very” concerned with the security of online transactions, according to the Unisys Security Index, a study that measures consumer perceptions of security.

The upswing is that retailers are rethinking how well they are protecting shopper data and adding new security measures.

Gone are the days of computer attacks that merely shut down a computer network. Today’s attacks are aimed at gaining consumer data, “and the goal of these criminals is to make money,” said Paul Proctor, research VP, Gartner, Stamford, Conn. He spoke during the recent FMI & Marketechnics convention, sponsored by the Food Marketing Institute, Washington, D.C.

“That’s why as more news about identity theft—whether it’s online or offline—is exposed, consumer confidence will drop,” said Tim Dowling, VP of Web security for McAfee, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based security-technology company.

And shoppers are indeed growing more wary about sharing their personal information online. For example, nearly 65% of the Americans surveyed said they were “extremely” or “very” concerned about other people obtaining and using credit- or debit-card information, the study said.

“I don’t necessarily think the paranoia is unwarranted, otherwise it would have gone away a long time ago,” Dowling said.

Cyber-thieves continue to use retail systems as an entry point to garnering consumer data, and e-commerce sites are often e-criminals’ entry point of choice.

“Since designers are always changing online content, it’s easy for a bug to slip in,” he added. “And the larger the merchant, the more opportunity there is to make mistakes.”

That said, retailers have their work cut out for them to secure their Web presence and rebuild consumer confidence. Conshohocken, Pa.-based David’s Bridal is one retailer making strides to ensure security both in its stores and online.

The specialty retailer operates more than 275 bridal showrooms nationwide. Realizing that most brides are relying on the Web to research what they need to fulfill their dream wedding, the retailer recently transitioned its Web site, www.davidsbridal.com , into a one-stop wedding resource.

“Word-of-mouth is still the foremost motivator for women in their mid-20s planning a first wedding,” according to Veronica Smith-Katz, VP of strategic partnerships at David’s Bridal. However, this Echo Boom generation “is very techsavvy and [the Web] is what they’re using [to do research and make purchases],” she recently told Retail Technology Quarterly. 

That’s why the chain began adding new measures to protect shopper data, and allow its shoppers to prepare for their special day with peace of mind.

For example, David’s Bridal works with VeriSign for SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption for all data passing across its e-commerce site.

“We also display the VeriSign logo to assure customers that we’re using safe encryption methods for sensitive transactions,” Katz said.

The chain is also installing McAfee Secure software to the Web site. The McAfee service provides daily network perimeter and Web application scanning. On a daily basis, the software looks for vulnerabilities that may allow a hacker to enter a database and retrieve credit-card data.

When McAfee acquired Scan Alert (the provider of HackerSafe software) in January, the company combined the initial tests with a series of new ones that determine a site’s safety. These tests search for vulnerabilities from Adware issues to viruses.

Upon passing the test, the Web site receives a McAfee trust mark. The logo appears above the fold on the retailer’s homepage, alerting shoppers that the site is safe and secure.

Since retailers are constantly making online content changes—whether it’s with new promotions or just linking to other sites—the service runs a series of daily scans. If the retailer happens to fail, the trust mark is immediately removed and will not be restored until it passes again.

While retailers are still learning their way around multichannel operations, it is evident that online security is one operation that needs to be a priority moving forward, Dowling said.

“Shoppers tend to look at several safety and security issues at store level, including where the store is located, if there is a security guard at the front door, as well as the overall quality and aesthetics of the store,” he said. “It’s critical that retailers replicate these same ideas online.”

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Survey: Businesses want to go green, but afraid of costs

BY CSA STAFF

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. According to a survey of 2,500 business professionals by Office Depot, half of all respondents are interested in making their offices “greener.”

While 50% of those surveyed said they’d like to have a greener office, more than half (55%) said they did not associate going green with saving money.

According to Yalmaz Siddiqui, director of environmental strategy for Office Depot, There is actually a range of cost scenarios that a business could face when deciding to go green, he explained. Some choices, like remanufactured cartridges, cost less; some require an upfront investment but come with long term cost savings, like compact fluorescent lights; some products entail no price difference; and some green ideas do cost more. The trick is to understand the different options and not assume that going green will always result in higher costs.

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Toys ‘R’ Us to be exclusive retailer of ‘Soul Bubbles’ Nintendo DS game

BY CSA STAFF

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. Toys “R” Us will be the exclusive retailer of Soul Bubbles, a new game for Nintendo DS created by Eidos Interactive.

“Creative and refreshing, Soul Bubbles is a unique game that DS owners won’t want to miss,” said Robert Lindsey, evp of sales and marketing for Eidos Inc. “This is a charming story combined with gameplay that pushes the capabilities of the Nintendo DS is sure to engage all puzzle gaming fans.”

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