A large number of U.S. retailers have experienced a data breach, and a majority consider themselves vulnerable to security threats, according to a new report from research firm 451 Research and cyber security provider Thales.

A survey of more than 1,100 senior security executives worldwide conducted by 451 Research in October and November 2016 showed that 52 percent have experienced a data breach in the past, and a majority (88 percent) consider themselves vulnerable to data threats. Nineteen percent said they are very vulnerable or extremely vulnerable.

Garrett Bekker
Garrett Bekker

U.S. retail data breaches in the past year actually dropped from 22 percent in the 2016 survey to 19 percent this year. The number is lower than any other U.S. vertical polled for the 2017 report, including healthcare (20 percent), financial services (24 percent) and the U.S. federal government (34 percent).

However, U.S. retailers might be failing to learn from past mistakes, the report noted. More than half (11 percent) of the 19 percent that were breached this year had also experienced a breach previously.

Breach results were not as good for global retail, with 43 percent of global retail respondents reporting a breach in the past year alone, approaching twice the global average.

“These distressing breach rates serve as stark proof that data on any system can be attacked and compromised,” said Garrett Bekker, principal analyst for information security at 451 Research. “Unfortunately, organizations keep spending on the same security solutions that worked for them in the past, but aren’t necessarily the most effective at stopping modern breaches.”

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Bob Violino

Bob Violino

Bob Violino is a freelance technology and business writer who covers a variety of topics, including big data and analytics, cloud computing, information security and mobile technology.