Security is the cornerstone of all web-based projects, not to mention e-commerce. Downtime caused by malware means you’ll lose revenue and customer trust. Following security best practices helps businesses maximize their revenue and maintain their customer base.
The growing need for security in electronic commerce
E-commerce has grown rapidly. More and more people prefer to shop online, and in the process, they enter their personal and credit card information. This makes e-commerce websites targets for hackers looking to steal sensitive data and use it for their own gain.
security reports show that the e-commerce industry experiences an increasing rate of cybercrime each year. Hackers rarely attack specific websites, especially if they are paid to do so and the target is a large retailer.
Small and medium-sized e-commerce websites are also under attack. About 57 percent of these attacks are driven by bots. This is a high number compared to other industries where bot-driven attacks account for 33 percent of all cases.
These trends increase security issues in e-commercecalling on business owners to implement security best practices.
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Common security threats in electronic commerce
E-commerce hacking has evolved over the years, so in many cases, the incidents are a complex combination of various types of attacks. Knowing typical attack vectors is crucial when choosing which security solutions to implement.
Phishing is a social engineering-based attack in which users are lured into sharing sensitive data such as passwords, account numbers, credit card numbers, and sensitive personal information.
Phishing is often plagued by mass spam emails or text messages containing links to spoofed versions of legitimate websites where victims are asked to log into their account with real credentials or fill in certain fields. These fake emails mimic email templates, fonts, logos, and styles used by the targeted company.
Some forms of phishing involve impersonating C-level employees and instructing their subordinates to interact with fake email attachments, opening up new attack vectors. In this sense, the attack can be directed at both companies and their customers.
In an unfortunate turn of events, this type of attack can be among the most damaging. Lost revenue is just one of the possible consequences, not to mention reputation and credibility.
A bot is a small piece of software designed to carry out automated tasks. In the context of e-commerce, not all bots are bad. For example, search engine bots, known as web crawlers, visit every website on the Internet, parsing and indexing their content to make sure search engines return relevant search results. Copyright bots maintained by copyright agencies search for infringing content.
Malicious bots aim to disrupt normal website operations. For example, they can create hundreds of fake accounts that saturate the databases or place thousands of orders simultaneously.
As a result, the products are shown as out of stock and the website becomes slow for legitimate users. Also, malicious bots scan your website to exploit potential vulnerabilities. Outdated software opens the doors for e-commerce hacking, allowing attackers to steal sensitive information or even take over the entire website and lock out the owner.
Malware means malicious software. It can reach your servers if your administrator credentials are compromised or as a result of an exploited vulnerability. Different pieces of malware can threaten your website and clients in different ways:
Collect information from your customers. Send emails without your knowledge. Redirect your customers to other websites (often to phishing sites). Block your access to the site and demand a ransom. Slow down the website.
DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service. The goal of this attack is to bring down the website by overloading the server with excessive traffic.
While DDoS attacks rarely create e-commerce security issues per se, such as carding attacks o Bogus order submissions – often serve as a cover for other harmful activities, such as injecting malware onto the server. With that being said, knowing how to deal with DDoS attacks is vital as they play a significant role in eCommerce hacking.
Ecommerce security: best practices for your store
Ecommerce security issues can be dire if proper security measures are not taken. In order not to fall victim to hackers, you should regularly review your current hosting environment to ensure that it is impervious to typical attacks. Below are some suggestions for strengthen your security.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is one of the most basic security solutions for any website. It establishes a secure and encrypted channel between the server and the user’s browser.
Every time users and the server communicate, they send data to each other, and SSL prevents the interception and modification of this data by third parties, such as hackers.
Not only does it protect data, but it also tells your customers that your website is secure and their data will not be compromised. Also, having an SSL certificate installed on your server also increases your SEO ranking.
The firewall is an application or a physical device that allows or denies traffic based on certain sets of rules. Its main task is to stop illegitimate traffic coming to your server, but in addition to protecting your website from DDoS attacks, it can be configured to block unauthorized access attempts to your server and other malicious vulnerabilities.
A backup of your website it is a copy of your data. If your lines of defense fail and your website is irrevocably infected or damaged, it is possible to restore it to its original state using backup copies.
A good practice is to have at least three backups stored in different locations in order to have a reliable copy. Also, it is recommended that you perform weekly and monthly backups to ensure that your last daily backup is not already infected.
Updating your software (plugins, themes, extensions, and apps) to the latest version is critical to keeping your site secure. Older versions of software often have loopholes that are fixed in newer versions, eliminating the possibility of your site being infected with malware.
Setting strong passwords for the admin areas of your website will make it much more difficult for hackers to gain access. This goes for your customers too – preventing them from creating an account with a weak password will drastically reduce the chances of their accounts being hacked. Multi-factor authentication is also a nice addition to this policy.
Security in e-commerce starts with a good host
Maintaining security in e-commerce is important, but it will do little good if your hosting company doesn’t do its part. A good host will always take care of your backups, set up firewalls, and provide you with an SSL certificate.
If your website gets hacked, support should help you deal with the consequences, identify the root cause why it happened, and come up with some good suggestions on how to stop it from going ahead.
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