eCommerce has significantly transformed the way business is conducted today. With exponential growth in internet usage, the amount of trade conducted electronically has also risen precipitously. There are many big online businesses that are reaping the benefits of this unprecedented eCommerce growth. However, there is a vulnerable aspect of it – online sites store valuable customer data that needs to be kept safe and secured. This crucial data includes credit card information, bank account details, and personal identification information.
Currently, privacy and security are major concerns for electronic technologies, especially online commerce needs high-security components that impact consumers’ transactions with businesses. For that, online storefronts need a reliable infrastructure and profound framework. Without effective security procedures in place, eCommerce companies are at great risk of losing customers’ data and hence, revenue.
Hackers and cybercriminals are using sophisticated technologies and advanced algorithms to exploit loopholes and confidential data from online stores. Thus, it is clear from these worrying identity theft statistics how hacking has become a serious problem and in what scale identities are being stolen online.
If you are running an eCommerce business, it’s time for you to address the worrying obstacles that stand in your way to closing more sales. You need to incorporate measures that will help you and your customers in terms of securing key data.
Table of Contents
Most common e-Commerce security threats
1. Credit Card Frauds
Credit card fraud is a type of identity theft in which cybercriminals steal your customers’ credit card information and withdraw or direct funds from their accounts. As scammers are getting smarter by the day, credit card scammers are using different means, including phone calls, emails, credit card skimmers, and Wi-Fi hotspots, to obtain personal information.
As online shopping is rising, it’s not necessarily required to process a physical credit card to make purchases. It is quite possible to obtain credit card details solely through online transactions. As a result, criminals are able to obtain enough personal information, and there are more chances of getting it misused.
2. Phishing attacks
Phishing attacks usually emanate from an email message pretending to be coming from a trusted source, such as banks, financial institutions, or renowned retailers. The message typically contains a link that directs the recipient to a website that appears legitimate but is in fact fraudulent. Targeted phishing attacks are often used to gain a foothold in corporate or governmental networks as part of a larger attack. Phishers do this because they’re successful at getting personal information and using it.
3. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
To put it in simple terms, a DDoS attack is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources. Many online retailers have fallen victim to DDoS attacks as they are capable of impacting their performance or even shutting them down. Although these are not large-scale by nature, yet can be highly devastating to your business. Downtime caused by these attacks can lead to missed sales, which can further cause customers to lose their confidence in your business.
4. Bad Bots
Due to the advancements in technology, the internet is flooded with all kinds of bots – good and bad. Good bots are used by search engines to crawl and index websites for their search results. However, with the growth of online businesses, bots are being used for malicious purposes. eCommerce companies have been affected by bad bots as they can steal content, pilfer pricing information, generate spam, and perpetrate fraud. Competitors can use this information to determine their pricing, exceeding you and outselling you to your target customers.
5. Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) attacks
A Man-in-the-middle attack is said to have taken place when an individual with malicious intent enters into a conversation between two parties, impersonates both of them, and gains information that the two parties were trying to send each other. The interesting aspect of this scenario is that the victim isn’t aware of the man in the middle.
If in case a MITM scenario happens to your website, the man in the middle sends you an email, making it look legitimate. It’s possible that the attacker has created a website that looks like your bank’s website, so you wouldn’t to hesitate to enter your credentials. There are different types of MITM attacks, including, IP spoofing, DNS spoofing, HTTPS spoofing, SSL hijacking, email hijacking, and stealing browser cookies.
Malware is malicious software that attackers insert into your web pages once they gain access to your online retail store. For example, with the help of SQL injection, cyber criminals can easily insert malware into your website’s database allowing it to compromise the key data. The direct result of inserting malware is it can change the appearance of your website. It can replace your website’s content with different messages. This attack could turn visitors away by offending them with a shocking message.
Best practices to address eCommerce security threats
As is clear from the above-mentioned security issues, both online businesses and their customers are equally on the radars of cyber criminals. They are not only using their expertise to dig around your eCommerce site for access to your own business data, but they can also steal your customers’ credit card information for personal use.
Here is a powerful threat protection plan for your eCommerce business:
1. PCI DSS compliance
PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard. PCI standard contains a series of security requirements that every business, big or small, must follow. It is designed to ensure that all companies that process, store, or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. The PCI DSS compliance mandates creating and maintaining a security policy that covers different security aspects, such as installing firewalls and data protection mechanisms.
Businesses have to encrypt cardholder data that is transmitted over public networks; they need to establish strong passwords and monitor access to account data. PCI DSS can immensely help eCommerce companies to build their internal information security program, and design it to meet their own business needs.
2. Use SSL certificates
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates can be crucial cybersecurity measures for your online store in order to protect your business data as well as your customers’ information from attack. Adding an SSL certificate puts a lock icon and HTTPS to the web address that creates an encrypted link and prevents an attacker from listening in to the traffic.
When an encrypted SSL link is created, what happens immediately is a user’s web browser verifies that the site on the other end is who it says it is. If you ignore this step, it may lead to a MITM attack. There are different SSL certificate versions: domain validation, organization validation, and extended validation.
3. Address Verification System (AVS)
An AVS is a system that validates a customer’s entered address by comparing it with major shipping carriers. This verification process can effectively reduce the number of checkout errors, and increase the conversion rate in the process.
AVS can be both domestic and international, and you should be ready to handle both AVSs’ result codes. It would be important to know how AVS can be helpful. Suppose an individual steals one of your customers’ credit card information, then he may have obtained the customer’s name, credit card number, and possibly CVV code. But the thief doesn’t know the address linked to that particular credit card account. Only the true cardholder would have that information. So, you and your customers are better protected when fraud disputes arise.
4. Web Application Firewalls (WAF)
Usually, network firewalls are unable to block the port through which HTTP traffic is served to the web, which is why web-based application attacks have been mounting in the past few years. So web application firewalls can solve this problem by analyzing applying rules to HTTP traffic. Gartner reported that 75% of all web attacks occur at the Application Layer (Layer 7) of the Open Systems Interconnection model.
WAFs are specifically designed to protect both inbound and outbound web traffic directed to a particular web server. WAFs are highly beneficial for e-commerce businesses as they rely on private user data on their websites. WAFs automatically filter out malicious web traffic and allow you to manually dictate who you want to access to your website.
5. Bot blockers
Bot blockers are basically software programs that monitor the traffic coming to your website and find patterns that tell you if a bad bot is harvesting your site’s content. When a blocker detects a bot, it usually drops the request, and as a result, the robot discontinues making data requests.
These blocking adjustments often happen in real-time. Some bot blockers are sophisticated and evaluate the specific request patterns, HTTP headers, source addresses, page request behaviors, and more. For example, CAPTCHA is the first layer of defense that tests threatening visitors quickly and weed out automated bots, which cannot read and supply a correct answer to the test.