Lock Up Your Booze In Smart Buildings

As the retail industry rushes to shore up known vulnerabilities, it seems those who seek to hack, cheat, defraud and swindle simply pop up through another crack in the dam of security measures. In this edition of the Retail Security Tracker, we focus on some of the most vulnerable areas of retail and some of the technology being employed to deter security breaches by these avenues.


It’s Under the Cap

Earlier this week, retail security provider Checkpoint Systems announced a new piece of technology designed to keep one of the most commonly stolen items in the retail beverage vertical, the liquor bottle, safe from shoplifters.

As the press release notes, Versa Guard offers retailers a faster mode of application and removal for efficient operations and a clean, simple aesthetic design for optimum merchandising, resulting in an impressive ROI. In-store theft is still a real problem for liquor store owners and one that requires a practical solution.

It’s pretty high-tech, as bottle caps go, including a three-alarm system that is activated when would-be thieves try to tamper with a cap or as it passes through a security checkpoint at a store exit.

As Uwe Sydon, senior vice president and chief innovation officer of Checkpoint Systems, stated in the release: “Until now, it’s been challenging for retailers to balance the need of protecting their high-risk merchandise with providing an open merchandising shopping experience to their customers. Versa Guard provides excellent versatility, optimal merchandising and benefit denial security. It fits most spirit bottles on the market and was designed with maximum ease of application and removal in mind to make in-store operations quick and intuitive.”


Tyco And Johnson Controls Merge To Create More Secure Future

Wall Street is abuzz with the news of Tyco and Johnson Controls’ $18 billion mega-merger, which will help to build a connected future and may power the secure retail environments of the future.

As Fortune reports, smarter, more secure buildings are just one of the many projects that the two companies will join forces around, but they may have the most direct impact on the future of retail security. The merger would position the two firms to collectively dominate every aspect of the so-called smart building industry. In these smart buildings, every aspect of operations — from air conditioning to the light bulbs — is connected to the Internet and sends data back to a central hub to be crunched for energy efficiency and productivity gains by the companies who inhabit them.

Most buildings are a mix of old-school technology and new, Fortune points out, but Tyco, in particular, has done a fantastic job of bridging that gap and helping to integrate disparate systems into one centralized information hub. Since 2014, the company has offered a product called Tyco On, which allows third parties to integrate with Tyco’s security and fire systems. Tyco’s open approach, including its security systems for retail stores, has helped it gain ground among partners and startups alike and build new services that incorporate innovative products and applications.

The new Johnson Controls will have to continue to compete with rivals, including Honeywell, GE and Emerson, as well as a host of upstarts, all vying for dominance in the smart building arena. Ultimately, whoever wins may not only offer the technology to connect all of a building’s operational systems but the cloud database and software infrastructure which allows their business customers to access it. A lot is at stake, and this merger has the attention of an entire industry.


Customer Service Is (Allegedly) The Weak Link For Amazon

All too often users are blamed for creating weak, easily hackable passwords, leaving their accounts and the databases they are a part of vulnerable to attack. However, as former Amazon developer Eric Springer points out, sometimes it’s not the user but rather those tasked with trying to help them who fail.

Springer alleges to have recently been the target of a hacking attempt on his Amazon account, which was launched via online customer service chat windows and eventually moved to customer service calls. The hacker impersonated Springer over chat and on the phone, phishing for personal information and giving false identifying credentials in order to gain access to personal account information and the last four digits of his credit card.

What’s even more frustrating is that, despite Springer’s continued calls to Amazon support letting them know this was happening, customer support representatives for the eCommerce giant continued to disregard his claims and failed to follow up. In the end, Springer gives sound advice for those retailers looking to provide outstanding customer support, while keeping their personal data secure.


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