Cybersecurity, which can also be referred to as ecommerce security, is a blanket term that refers to the policies and systems intended to protect computers, programs, data, or networks from attack, damage, or unauthorized access. This includes personal computers (PCs), mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, ecommerce websites like eBay and Amazon Marketplace, online banking services, and more. While most people are aware of ecommerce security threats in an internet-connected world where technology permeates every facet of life, few know how cyberattacks happen or what kinds of consequences they pose.
5 Major Ecommerce Security Threats
To better grasp this growing issue with many implications for ecommerce businesses big and small across all industries, it’s important to identify the main types of cyberattacks that target retailers in an online environment. The five major cyber threats are:
This attack works by someone getting you to give out your username, password, or other sensitive information by pretending to be a trustworthy entity such as a government, company, or person you already know and trust
This attack mechanism involves the use of email or websites that mimic an established and trusted one to get you to enter personal information such as credit card numbers, bank account passwords, and usernames which can lead to identity theft problems if this data is not protected
This may involve malicious software including viruses, spyware, ransomware, or key loggers that do harm such as deleting files on your computer or stealing your passwords and usernames for banking sites, etc., taking control of your keyboard and mouse, preventing access to certain websites or applications, stealing your files and personal information
Denial of Service (DoS)
Overwhelming the target with traffic from multiple systems (bots), causing a system to be temporarily unavailable
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
An amplification technique using multiple systems (usually at least 100), often infected with a Trojan, to flood the intended target with large amounts of data to prevent access and deny services.
Ecommerce Security Risks
By better understanding these cyber threats and how they work, retailers can ensure that their ecommerce presence is protected. Here are some ways you can implement ecommerce security solutions when building an online marketplace:
Use of Complex passwords, which include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. It’s a good idea to use different usernames and passwords for each different site or service you access. However, it’s also important that these are difficult enough to crack through the use of complex characters to make it harder for hackers to gain access to your data.
In addition to making strong passwords, many ecommerce sites offer two-factor authentication, which requires that a password is confirmed with a one-time code sent via SMS or email that expires within a certain timeframe. This provides an additional layer of protection against unauthorized users because even if someone were able to get the username and password, they would need a second factor – a code from their mobile device – to log in successfully.
Geofencing is a location-based security solution that monitors the proximity of the device being used to access your account. This can be useful because it can prevent unauthorized use if you are in another country, for instance.
Cloud-based firewall services
These are external firewalls that protect your company from malware and viruses as well as intrusions such as DDoS attacks such as those that were famously launched by Lizard Squad on the Labor Party
SSL or TLS protocols provide an encrypted connection between your website and users’ web browsers resulting in scrambled information so hackers cannot intercept private data. Your ecommerce website should always use these protocols whenever possible, especially when accepting credit card numbers and other financial transactions online, to keep customer information safe.
Limit data collection
Many companies collect customer information during the course of an online transaction which is then stored in their databases. Storing this kind of personal data can be dangerous because it makes you a target for hackers who may be able to penetrate your system and steal this information. Even if you’re protected by encryption, hackers can still steal log-in credentials using key loggers or other malware tools that won’t set off any alarms once they are inside your network
Regularly back up all data on both internal servers as well as cloud services. You should never rely solely on one backup method but instead use multiple backups including external hard disks, USB drives, online backup sites, CD/DVDs, and more to ensure that your data is protected.
The Best Ecommerce Security Practices
Reducing the risks of implementing ecommerce within your business is largely about implementing ecommerce security solutions, but it can also be helpful to make sure you are following the best practices in terms of your online presence. Before investing time and money into boosting sales through ecommerce initiatives, here are few things that you should consider:
Ensure every page is SSL secured
Make sure that all pages of your website are secure by using HTTPS where possible rather than HTTP, which is not secure. When an SSL certificate is installed, your domain can be verified by browsers which helps improve trustworthiness in customers’ eyes. This will also impact the way they respond to online transactions because they will see that you are committed to their security. Security-wise, the encryption that comes with an SSL secured website ensures that online thieves can’t intercept sensitive data like credit card numbers and personal information.
Reduce the number of elements that are publicly accessible
You may think that you need to make every page of your website available for web crawlers to access, but this actually leaves you at risk because it allows hackers to take advantage of vulnerabilities in them before you even know about them. Search engines should index only necessary pages, so prioritize what is accessible by anyone so you can eliminate security issues before they arise.
Train staff in cybersecurity basics
It is important to train employees in best practices for protecting data so they know how to stay safe when working with company information. Make sure that they are aware of what kind of content can get them in trouble and also access tools such as social engineering protection for added security
Avoid falling victim to phishing attacks
Hackers often send out fake emails pretending to be from reputable sources like banks or tech support to trick people into giving up their log-in credentials or infecting their computers with malware. They may even request for you to send sensitive data like credit card numbers through email, making it crucial that staff are adequately trained to avoid this kind of attack
Limit external access
Restrict the number of people who have access to the backend of your website and only grant them access when they need it. This can be particularly important if you already use an ecommerce platform like Magento, where one compromised account has the power to take down all aspects of your business.
Implementing a cybersecurity solution
If you’d like a helping hand in securing your ecommerce website, consider working with a cybersecurity company. They can provide an assessment of where vulnerabilities lie and offer solutions to rectify them, and monitor your site 24/7 to ensure that it is protected from online threats.
What to do if your Business is Hacked
Last but not least, what should you do if cybercriminals have already compromised your business? The first thing is to understand what kind of hack was used so that it can be prevented in the future – popular choices include malware attacks, phishing scams, and DDoS.
The second thing is to notify your customers as soon as possible. This will reduce the risk of other people being affected by the same attack, which also addresses financial stability issues because payment details have been stolen. Thirdly, find out how your network was hacked so that you can stop it from happening again and then begin investigating any unusual activity such as transactions that haven’t been authorized or messages sent using a staff member’s name.
Lastly, consider working with an expert cybersecurity company who will assist you with identifying the weaknesses in your network, patching them up, and implementing regular security audits. This way, you can ensure that your ecommerce site stays secure, which will make it easier for customers to trust you with their business.
How to choose the best Cybersecurity Company
Depending on the size of your business, adding a new member to the team may not be an option which leaves you searching for other solutions. Many companies offer package deals that take care of everything from network vulnerability assessment and penetration testing right through to infrastructure support and cloud security monitoring. Having all this done in-house can sometimes be more expensive, so working with a specialist company could actually save you money. Some benefits include:
- Peace of mind: It’s difficult enough running a small business without worrying about what will happen if your ecommerce platform gets hacked, which is why it’s important to find out what kind of strategies are in place to protect it. This should give you peace of mind allowing you to focus on developing your business.
- Save time: A security company will be able to keep track of threats and vulnerabilities on an ongoing basis, so you don’t have to. This frees up your employees for more productive tasks, which can help speed things along.
- Specialized knowledge: It takes years of training and experience to become a cybersecurity specialist with extensive knowledge in areas like application testing, penetration testing, malware protection, social engineering, etc. All this is done to make your ecommerce website impenetrable against the latest online threats.
- Cost-effective: Some companies charge per hour, which can rack up costs if it’s not something they specialize in, but there are also options like monthly subscriptions or even pay as you go. This is a more cost-effective solution as cyber-attacks are constantly evolving, and the rate of change is accelerating.
- 24/7 monitoring: Depending on what kind of package you go for, there’s usually an option to include round-the-clock monitoring so that you don’t need to worry about threats popping up unannounced or staff members falling for email scams. You can sleep better at night knowing that your site is being monitored around the clock, which leaves you time to do other tasks.
Now, choosing a cybersecurity company shouldn’t be an arduous task because it’s basically like choosing any other product or service. Some of the important factors that you will want to consider are:
- The size of the company and how long they have been in business. You will want a responsible partner that has been around for a while. This will give you peace of mind because they’ll be able to provide all their clients with ongoing support.
- How much experience do they have with ecommerce platforms? Ask them what kind of platforms or ecommerce technologies they have come across so that you can be sure it’s more than just a side project for them. It’s also important not to choose a company who only offer one service because this might not be enough considering the ever-changing nature of cyber threats.
- What services do they offer? Will their solution protect your site from current and future online threats? What kind of tests will they carry out, and how often? The more services offered the better. Look for companies that offer a range of management services like 24/7 monitoring, cloud security, vulnerability assessment, etc.
- What results can you expect with their help? Ask them how they work to achieve these results, which should give you peace of mind knowing that your ecommerce platform is in good hands.
Understandably, while trying to contain cyber threats on your eCommerce business, you might be apprehensive about handing over the reins to a cybersecurity company when it comes to your ecommerce platform. However, this is really one of the best options available because they are constantly monitoring trends and understanding what cybercriminals are up to. The most important thing is to find a service you can trust.