In 2020 the majority of the companies started shifting from offline to online. Though the Covid-19 pandemic was one reason, we cannot deny that the digital market is on the rise due to its instant connectivity and availability. But, unfortunately, this gave rise to innumerable cyber-crimes and online attacks.
- Cyber-Security Ventures predict a rise of 15% in the cyber-crime rate/year for the next five years.
- Research indicates that cyber-crime is expected to reach $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, which was $3 trillion in 2015.
The change in the theft pattern from physical to digital is reflected in the above figures.
Example: When you own a physical store, you invest in security guards and surveillance cameras, but if you own an e-commerce store, you need to implement digital security measures for gaining a secured environment.
When customers shop online, they need a secured gateway for making transactions of their purchases. If your e-commerce store cannot take care of its data privacy, it can affect your sales and reputation. Your unreliable store will keep customers away, and hence e-commerce security is pivotal to minimize threats and expand the business.
Security Measures to Minimise E-commerce Security Threats
In this article, we will discuss some of the worst cyber-security threats and their solutions.
Threat 1 – Social Engineering
Phishing is one form of social engineering that hackers use to intrude into systems and assets to gain data and money on a social level. Phishing happens when an intruder tries to pose a trustworthy identity to trick the user into submitting their sensitive information for downloading malware via phone calls, emails, or letters.
Multiple types of phishing attacks like spear-phishing, whaling, vishing, email phishing, clone phishing, etc., are prevalent, and hence extreme security measures should be taken to prevent such threats.
Example: A fake email claiming from a bank authority asking to submit credit card details for confirmation can prove dangerous for the recipient.
Employees should be updated about phishing attacks and their patterns. They should be able to identify the genuine from the fake. Even customers who are receiving emails should recognize the fake ones before sharing their private information.
Few common signs of phishing include bad grammar, incorrect language, and punctuations, the urgency of gaining information, unusual requests to submit personal information, etc.
Legitimacy should be checked before submitting such information.
Threat 2 – Transaction Fraud
Transaction fraud, or payment fraud, as you name it, can occur in 2 ways.
- The credit card details are stolen by the hacker and misused
- The payment transaction made by the customer on an unsecured network is redirected to another fake account
Though online shopping boasts of the convenience of transactions, few security vulnerabilities in the network can lead to a massive amount of withdrawal from your bank account by a cybercriminal.
PCI (Payment Card Industry) has hence made the installation of SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate compulsory for e-commerce industries, where innumerable transactions occur daily.
SSL security is all about providing robust encryption between browser-server communications, making forgery an arduous task for hackers. Trust indicators like HTTPS (Hyper-text Transfer Protocol Secure) and padlock in the address bar and URL respectively become visible and are sufficient to protect customer transactions and sensitive information by convincing them that the site they are visiting is secure.
Buy SSL certificates from SSL2BUY, where you get an option to choose from different global brands such as AlphaSSL, RapidSSL, Comodo SSL certificate for securing your store, and that too at discounted rates.
Threat 3 – DDoS Attacks
In a DDoS (distributed-denial-of-service) attack, a hacker successfully disrupts the services of a web host, making the online site unavailable. They flood the bandwidth and incoming traffic with multiple requests and overburden the systems, thus stopping all incoming legit entries. The website will not load, thus damaging the store’s reputation. A ransom to disable the DDoS attack can cripple your business, leading to losses.
DDoS Protection Vendors like Verisign DDoS protection services, Nexusguard, Cloudflare DDoS protection, etc., help minimize the impact of DDoS attacks by using software that monitors incoming traffic approaching the website. In addition, they use algorithms that reject access to all illegal or suspicious traffic, thus filtering the same.
Threat 4 – Password Attack
Passwords are meant for protection and not convenience. The more convenient the password, the greater are the chances of an intruder entering into your network. In addition, if an admin password is leaked, the damages can be irrecoverable.
Smart intruders try to invade the network in 2 ways.
- Brute force attacks wherein the software runs multiple passwords to get the correct one.
- Password guessing wherein the intruder tries to guess the password, depending on the user’s details entered in social media accounts.
- Passwords should be long, complex, alphanumeric, and consisting of symbols, special characters, etc. A password generator tool like LastPass can help in generating a secured and random password.
- Use MFA (multi-factor authentication) for securing your network and admin access more strongly. Apart from password security, a validation code sent through SMS or email also needs to be entered for gaining access. So, if one criterion is compromised, you have another one protecting your network.
Threat 5 – Bad Bots
Good bots for performing multiple tasks and eliminating human presence and instructions are common in the e-commerce industry. They also help in crawling and pushing your site to the top position.
Contrary to this, bad bots are used by cybercriminals and hackers to perform malicious tasks. 2021 Bad Bot Report indicates their increase by 6.2% compared to the previous year, thus grabbing almost a quarter of internet traffic. In addition, they mimic humans and their behavior, making their detection difficult.
Examples: Gaining unauthorized access into user accounts, API attacks, stealing information, transaction fraud, alter product prices, damaging rites and steal revenues, etc.
You can prevent the bad bots from entering your network by securing bare APIs (application programming interface), mobile applications, monitoring network traffic, etc. In addition, ensure that all network and web securities are in place, opt for cloud-based web application firewalls, and challenge human inputs like CAPTCHA for bad bot prevention.
Threat 6 – Malware
Entering through the back door, malware comes in all types like Cross-site Scripting (XSS), ransomware, SQL injections, etc., to grab sensitive information and customer data.
- XSS is the most common type of malware that inserts malicious java codes into your web application/page. When a user visits the compromised web page, a malicious script enters your browser, causing damages.
- Attackers use SQL injections to inject malicious SQL code into the database to access company-sensitive information.
- Ransomware attacks include software that locks your systems with encryption, and the intruder can release the same after giving them ransom.
- Keep your systems updated regularly to fill all security vulnerabilities. This is the best solution for malware prevention.
- Apart from that, avoid clicking unknown links or opening suspicious emails.
- Limiting access to important data, installing firewall and antivirus software or anti-malware software will help prevent this security theft.
Threat 7 – Spam
When it’s open, it invites spam. Be it comments for your website/blog, text boxes, contact information, query forms, etc.; spammers explore places where they can plant infected links. Their motto is to gain database access, and, in many cases, they lie in emails, waiting to be clicked by employees.
Regular employee training, installing spam filtering tools (SpamTitan, SPAMfighter, Mailwasher, etc.), anti-virus software, and avoiding suspicious links by directly deleting them, will help prevent spam.
More E-commerce Security Solutions
Some other solutions for threat protection include:
- Complying with PCI SSC (Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council) guidelines for adapting data security standards for secured payments.
- Using CDN (Content Delivery Networks) for dual security of website data.
- Installing security plugins of the respective host to prevent DDoS attacks, malware, phishing attacks, and varied security threats.
- Using cloud backup for complete site backup in case of emergencies. Backup plugins like UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin help in easing the backup and restoration process.
- Securing your server with a complex password and SSL encryption security, or CDN for strong protection against intruders.
- Installing anti-virus software/firewall for fool-proof protection against hackers.
- Ensuring a secured payment gateway with SSL encryption security.
- Keeping your software updated regularly so that security loopholes are patched regularly.
- Limiting access to pivotal data for preventing accidental sharing and human errors.
- Keeping your employees educated about the latest cyber-threats, their symptoms, and their security measures.
Security threats can be catastrophic for e-commerce customers as well as e-commerce retailers. Hence website security is pivotal for the protection of site and data.
Complex passwords, MFA, SSL security, and installation of antivirus software, etc., can go a long way in securing your website. However, keeping site security and customer data privacy as the main motto, go ahead with the solutions mentioned above and keep your website safe from prying eyes. Best Wishes!