WASHINGTON — Retail trade associations have joined forces with the financial services industries to create a new cyber-security partnership, in the wake of massive data security breaches at retailers including Target and Neiman Marcus that affected millions of consumers.


The groups said in a joint statement Thursday that the partnership will focus on improving threat information sharing, strengthening card security technology and improving the security of e-commerce purchases and mobile transactions.

“Retailers place extraordinarily high priority on protecting customers’ personal information,” said Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association. “This partnership will improve collaboration across the payments ecosystem allowing us to work together to develop near- and long-term solutions that will enhance security for our customers.”

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The collaboration comes on the heels of highly publicized breaches at Target and Neiman’s, which spawned four Congressional hearings last week and increased the call for a national data security standard and data breach notification law.

“This partnership is a positive step in the right direction, since there is no single solution to the complex issues surrounding cyber security,” said Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer of the National Retail Federation. “That is why it is important to bring stakeholders together as we seek answers, share solutions and implement programs that not only prevent hackers from breaching data systems, but protects the consumer by shutting down these criminal enterprises.”

RILA and the Financial Services Roundtable initiated the discussions about creating a partnership, which has now grown to include 13 representatives of retail and financial institutions.

“We are committed to working together to ensure customer personal and financial information is secure and protected,” said Tim Pawlenty, ceo of FSR. “Exploring avenues for increased information sharing and collaborating on innovative technologies and safeguarding data will be critical in defending against common enemies.”

One area of focus will be on developing stronger ties between retailers and the financial services industry’s information-sharing mechanism, known as the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or FS-ISAC, a program launched by the financial services sector in 1999 that eventually developed into a public-private information-sharing program about physical and cyber security threats and vulnerabilities aimed at helping protect the U.S. critical infrastructure.

Developing more secure technologies is also a top priority. The partnership highlighted the development of new systems that will “transmit payment data in a way that is unique and dynamic to reduce the risks.”

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