Cyber criminals are targetting small businesses in the UK, and retailers that do not take basic precautions could be vulnerable   Small shops are in danger of having customers’ card numbers and employee details vacuumed up by criminals hacking into their computer system , according to security expert Alan Stephenson-Brown.

Speaking at the ACS Crime Prevention Forum, Mr Stephenson-Brown of payments technology firm Phonix Managed Networks, said: “Be aware – some criminals will even approach your staff and try to bribe them to steal data, or put a wireless device in the store.  The black market price for a credit card number is £475.

It is essential retailers use a firewall and antivirus software on their computers, he said, but it’s also important to follow basic rules such as not writing customers’ card details down on paper.

Statistics show UK firms are losing more than £2million a year to cyber criminals, and 72% of those targeted are small firms which have weaker online security than big firms.

A Home Office guide on how small businesses can get the most out of their CCTV system was also launched at the forum.

The document, available to download from the Home Office website at, gives straightforward advice on where to position cameras for clear images and how to manage your recordings to help catch criminals and prevent crime in your store.  Retailers also heard from James Graven retail group’s community liaison manager Caroline Bosworth about measures to prevent crime and antisocial behaviour.


  • Be a ‘someone’ in your area – it is not just about donating cash.  Mentor a community group, engage with local agencies, speak to councillors and find out what is going on
  • Offer free hot drinks to uniformed officers
  • Speak to your local trade associations
  • look after staff at all costs
  • make sure your CCTV is positioned well
  • Avoid flashpoints, eg remove flour and eggs from your shelves in the run-up to halloween