Retailers Urge Collaboration to Combat Cyberattacks

In a statement submitted today to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) highlights the importance of collaboration among retailers, banks and card networks to advance payments security to prevent future cyberattacks The letter was submitted for the record ahead of the Subcommittee hearing, “Safeguarding Consumers’ Financial Data.”

The hearing will examine the procedures for overseeing data security and breaches of data security by the United States Secret Service and the Federal Trade Commission, the adequacy of current technology in securing consumer financial data, and recommendations for strengthening data protections for consumers. Retailers take the threat of cyber attacks extremely seriously and work diligently every day to stay ahead of the sophisticated criminals behind them. Retail companies individually and the industry collectively, are taking aggressive steps to counter these threats and RILA recently announced the establishment of a trusted forum through which retailers can share threat information and advance effective security solutions and collaborate with other stakeholders in the payments system.

"While retailers understand and manage their internal systems and security, they have little or no influence over the actions taken by other players in the payments universe, actions with enormous implications on fraud. Instead, retailers must rely on others in the payments ecosystem to dictate critical security decisions, including card technology, retailer terminals, and when data can be encrypted during the transmission between retailers and the card networks. Retailers have long argued that the card technology in place today is antiquated and because of that criminals can use stolen consumer data to create counterfeit cards with stunning ease,” Bill Hughes, senior vice president of government affairs at RILA, states in the letter. “For years, retailers have urged banks and card networks to adopt the enhanced fraud prevention technology in use around the world here in the United States. While their resistance to doing so has been great, retailers continue to press all other stakeholders in the payments system to make this a priority."

RILA recently launched its Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Initiative. As part of the initiative, RILA called for collaboration among retailers, banks and card networks to advance improved payments security. The RILA plan focused on four major steps that should be taken to improve the security of debit and credit cards.

"In order to accomplish these goals, the perpetual adversaries that make up the payments ecosystem must work together. We have little doubt that all parties share the goals of protecting consumers and maintaining confidence in the payments system. That is why RILA is reaching out to representatives across the merchant community, as well as those representing the card networks and financial institutions of all sizes, in an effort to work together to identify near- and long-term solutions,” Hughes continued in the letter.

By working together with public-private sector stakeholders, retailers’ ability to develop innovative solutions and anticipate threats will grow, enhancing the collective security in the payments process and giving customers the service and peace of mind they deserve.

Read the full statement here.


RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.



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