Protect Against Holiday Hackers With New Software Solution

Sep 26, 2022

Panasonic. Samsung. AON. Vodaphone. Bridgestone-Firestone. Snap On. The San Franciso 49ers.

What do these companies have in common? All were victims of ransomware attacks in 2022, according to global cybersecurity company BlackFog. While large corporations with large profits are a natural target for hackers, they also have some of the best cybersecurity teams behind them. If hackers can infiltrate those systems, what is to stop them from hitting grocery stores, and especially independent retailers? 

Not much. "Small- and medium-sized businesses are prime targets for hackers because they tend to have little awareness and sloppy or outdated technology," IGA CEO John Ross says.

Independents are especially vulnerable during the holidays. "Hackers love to hack when they know we're distracted and not ready to respond," Cybereason CEO Lior Div told CBS News.

When owners and managers are busy preparing for their biggest selling seasons — especially now, when many stores are underemployed due to labor shortages — stressed employees and management aren't paying attention to suspicious emails or texts. One click on the wrong link can lead to a systemwide shutdown with shopper and employee data being held for ransom. 

According to IGA's cybersecurity partner Millennium Digital Technologies (MDTech), the average ransomware attack costs businesses an average of 15 days of downtime and over $500,000 in payouts, shutting down POS systems, exposing customer and employee data to identity thieves, and infecting business partner systems.

"If you think that as an independent grocer you are not at risk, you're mistaken," MDTech President and CIO Ken Andrews says. "This is an existential threat to an independent grocer."

Members of the Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) have been hit by hackers in the past few years. From a single store to a 22-store group, hackers have dropped malware into emails opened by employees or infected POS systems, holding shopper and employee data hostage for a ransom. 

What's the solution? Protection.

"Please get smart about this risk," Ross says. "Talk to our partner about putting the right tools and processes in place to prevent or deal with an attack this holiday season. At minimum, complete a self-assessment to determine your risk."

Quick Fix: Software Solution

In time for the holiday season, MDTech has released a software solution that requires no hardware, making it easier than ever to address the most common sources of cyber incidents for small to mid-sized businesses. In fact, most clients can install the software in 30 minutes or less, Andrews says. 

The MDTech EDRGuard Cyber Security Program protects your weakest links, which are the computers where internet or email are accessed by your employees. It stops breaches and simplifies your protection, making it an optimal quick fix for busy retailers. 

"If a retailer doesn't have any protection in place before the 2022 holidays, this EDRGuard program is a quick fix to provide safety," Andrews says. "Not only will it catch threats that some other solutions miss, it also includes periodic scans of your internet connection looking for known vulnerabilities and configuration errors. And in the unlikely event that a cyber incident were to occur, the included Advantage $100K breach indemnity program provides no sub-limit coverage for the cyber event."

The EDRGuard program is available to IGA retailers for $59.99 a month.

Interested retailers can fill out the form at the bottom of this page and a member of the MDTech team will reach out.

Check Your Threat Level

All Independent Grocers Alliance members can receive staff, manager, and owner training modules free of charge from MDTech. They will also provide a security best practices guide, which offers the top 5-10 items a store should focus on to protect themselves from cyber risks, including ransomware attacks. 

Want to know what your current threat level is? Request a free biannual security best practices assessment from MDTech, where their security team will review your processes and systems against security best practices and make recommendations.

Fill out the contact form at the end of this story and a member of the MDTech team will reach out.

Go All In With Comprehensive Solutions

There are ample opportunities for hackers to access independent retailers' networks, so each store needs different levels of protection. MDTech offers a full suite of solutions, from the aforementioned free assessments and recommendations to full hardware solutions that include internal and external network scans. 

For example, stores with video security systems need external network vulnerability scans to monitor their public network, looking for insecure devices and any changes that may have occurred so that the security team can take action before an incident occurs.

Contact IGA's cybersecurity partner today to ensure your system is ready for the vulnerable holiday season. Whether the free assessment is all you need or a more comprehensive plan, you can find details on solutions on this page. Fill out the form below and a member of the MDTech team will contact you.

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