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Retail data breaches decline during holiday months

Walmart customers checkout at the retailer's Black Friday event in 2015. Photo: Gunnar Rathbun / Invision for Walmart via AP

Retail data breaches at point of sale are down during the holiday season, according to a BitSight report out this week, and the number of intrusions hitting retailers has been declining over time.

The big picture: The trend either indicates businesses heightening security measures during the holiday season or a decline in companies reporting the incidents due to the bustling holiday season, BitSight says.

  • Still beware, particularly on apps. From 2015 to 2016, the most breaches (25% of the total) took place on web apps, per the report.
  • Although the number of breaches is down over time, that may have little effect on how many consumers are impacted — Yahoo, now Oath under new parent company Verizon, recently announced that a 2013 breach hit all 3 billion of its user accounts instead of the originally announced 1 billion, making it the largest data intrusion of all time.
  • While intrusions are down over the holidays, transactions in brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday remained largely the same compared to last year, and dipped by less than 1% in foot traffic, per ShopperTrak, CNN reports.
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