Shops launch effort to fight cyberattacks

Retailers are creating a new system to share information and help fight cyber threats.

The National Retail Federation announced on Monday that the new platform, modeled after a financial industry forum, is scheduled to be up and running in June. Once operational, the information-sharing and analysis center should help stores beef up their defenses against hackers.

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“We believe a heightened and well coordinated information sharing platform such as a retail [information sharing and analysis center] is a vital component for helping retailers in their fight against cyber attacks,” Matthew Shay, president of the retailer trade group, said in a statement. “Establishing a new program takes time, but time is not our friend when it comes to stopping these sophisticated and unpredictable criminals.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who has pushed for a retailer-focused information-sharing center, said that the move “will allow the industry to better share information that could help prevent the types of widespread consumer data thefts we now are seeing.”

The trade group said that it had held discussions with officials from the Secret Service and other government agencies for help improving communication and resources among retailers.

The effort comes on the heels of an announcement from the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission last week to reassure businesses that they can share information without running afoul of antitrust laws. 

A rash of data breaches at major stores like Target and Neiman Marcus exposed millions of shoppers’ personal and financial data earlier this year and led to calls for legislation and better collaboration to ward off cyber thieves. 

In February, the National Retail Federation joined up with the Financial Services Roundtable, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and a host of other financial and commercial trade groups to take on the hackers.