E-commerce Security Threats and How to Prevent Them
June 16, 2023, 9 min read
E-commerce has become a foundational pillar of the global economy. Because of technological advancements, there are now innumerable new ways to reach customers worldwide. However, as a business grows, so does its vulnerability. This applies equally to internet transactions.
It is your responsibility as a business or brand to ensure the well-being of your customers and staff. Because of this, concerns about online safety and privacy have grown in recent years.
There is security for e-commerce website concerns when information on customers and businesses is available to the general public.
The Increasing Importance of E-commerce Security in Today’s Digital Landscape
After recent discoveries regarding the theft of sensitive data by evil outsiders, the need to secure the industry became apparent. By 2020, it was anticipated that e-commerce would account for 15.5 percent of all retail sales. This could happen through a wide variety of processes. This might happen on purpose or by accident.
Many people have an interest in the outcome; thus, intent matters. As a result of technological progress, just 5% of firms feel more comfortable with online transaction security. As a result, it is predicted that 60% of firms will be unable to protect themselves from cybercriminals.
Two significant causes of a business losing clients are incompetence and price gouging. Mismanagement within companies is a common cause of confidential data leaks. The consequence is permanently reduced security, whether the cause is a lack of resources or indifference on the part of employees.
Second, it is becoming increasingly common to manipulate prices at the register. This is the floor that most burglars target because of the money. But this is just the beginning; there are countless other considerations. Let’s look at the significant threats and discuss potential solutions for e-commerce site security.
Common E-commerce Security Threats, Including Hacking and Data Breaches
A wide variety of potential dangers could compromise your online store. Hacking, improper use of personal information, monetary theft, phishing attempts, unprotected service supply, and credit card fraud are common security issues. Let’s discuss some of the most frequent ones that hamper web-based enterprises.
Online companies have struggled with financial fraud since it first appeared. Hackers cause massive losses to firms by conducting unauthorized transactions and then erasing all traces of them.
Fake claims for credits or returns are another tactic used by scammers. Businesses frequently fall victim to refund fraud, a financial crime in which stolen or defective goods are returned to the buyer.
Jimmy, for instance, enjoys benefiting from dishonest means. Since friendly fraud allows him to buy, use, and return something for a refund, he engages in it whenever possible.
While email is widely recognized as a powerful channel for increased revenue, it continues to be one of the most popular channels for spam. However, internet spammers will use comments on your site or contact forms to leave infected links to harm you. They frequently use social network inboxes to send these messages and then wait for you to open them. In addition to compromising your website’s safety, spam can slow it down.
Email phishing is a common form of e-commerce fraud in which hackers pose as legitimate businesses and trick your customers into giving up sensitive information by sending them emails that look, feel, and even sound like they came from your company.
Fake “you must take this action” emails sent to your customers or employees through email are a common phishing tactic. Customers will only give the hacker access to their accounts and other sensitive information if they do the deed.
You may be familiar with bots from positive interactions with them, such as the web crawlers that improve your website’s position in SERPs. However, specialized scraping bots have been built to extract data such as prices and stock levels from online stores. Hackers can then utilize this data to either lower your costs or steal your best-selling items from customer shopping carts, causing a drop in sales and revenue.
DDoS and DOS assaults, which try to disrupt your website and damage sales, are rising. These assaults overload your servers with requests, bringing down your website.
Attacks Using Brute Force
These assaults are an attempt to brute-force your admin password for your online shop. It connects to your website and tries every possible password combination using specialized software. Having a strong, complicated password is your best defense against such intrusions. Please remember to swap it out frequently.
Injections of SQL Code
Cyberattacks using SQL injections aim to get access to your database using your query submission forms. To steal information from your database, they introduce malicious code and then erase it.
If you own an online shop, hackers could potentially infect your customers. Content Security Policy provides a method of protection against this.
The Vulnerability of E-commerce Platforms to Malware and Ransomware Attacks
Malware, including ransomware, can encrypt your data and render your computer or network useless if it manages to infiltrate it. Maintaining frequent backups of your site’s data might assist in mitigating the financial impact of downtime. You may fortify your computer against assaults by avoiding dangerous behaviors like clicking on suspicious links or downloading new applications.
Magecart, WannaCry, Petya, NotPetya, and BadRabbit are recent ransomware attacks that made the news because they leveraged exploits explicitly designed to break into business networks. Kaspersky Lab reports that businesses made up 26.2% of ransomware victims in 2017, up from 24.8% in 2016. Kaspersky Lab’s senior malware expert, Fedor Sinitsyn, offered a possible explanation: “Business victims are remarkably vulnerable, can be charged a higher ransom than individuals, and are often willing to pay up to keep the business operating.”
Malware, short for malicious software, is code that hackers use to cause harm after gaining access to your system. As a result of Magento and other similar platforms’ popularity, they are susceptible to massive malware outbreaks. Malware can steal sensitive information from your website’s users or turn their computers into a botnet that could be used in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Malware can also engage in spam operations like link creation and pop-up ad insertion.
The Risk of Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft for E-commerce Customers
Criminals prey on online merchants by using stolen credit card information. They like doing business online since they don’t have to interact with legitimate companies or customers.
If you fail to consider all potential dangers, your company will be an easier target.
To conduct online payments, your company must get approval from the card issuer. However, this still doesn’t prove that the customer is the cardholder. The default authorization verifies the following:
No one has reported this card missing or stolen.
It’s a genuine card, and there are sufficient funds in the account
Suppose the sale is fraudulent, and your company didn’t acquire authorization from the issuer. In that case, the legitimate cardholder may dispute the charge and return the entire amount to your company.
It’s crucial to keep track of chargebacks. Get as much data as possible and present it to your potential buyer. Report any suspicious transactions to your authorization center.
At the time of sale and during its transmission to the payment system, merchants are liable for the safety of their customers’ credit card information.
The Importance of Secure Authentication and Password Policies in E-commerce
The proliferation of cloud-based software services has implications for businesses of all sizes and sectors. However, online retailers face threats beyond unauthorized access within the company’s walls. Customer identification and access management (CIAM) programs provide unusual difficulties for online merchants since they cannot collect the same comprehensive user data.
Authentication must be performed to ensure that users are who they claim to be. Online stores frequently rely on minimal details when allowing customers to create accounts. In the past, all one would need was:
Username (or Email Address) Password
The company can’t tell if the customer is who they say they are if any of these three items have been compromised.
For instance, an online store can’t verify a user’s identity if a hacker successfully impersonates a client due to a weak password. The company risks losing money due to fraudulent transactions and other costly conduct.
Self-service operations are widely used in the e-commerce industry but come with their fair share of security threats. This is a best practice endorsed by the NCCoE (National Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence). Multi-factor authentication, which uses web analytics and contextual risk, is recommended to lower instances of fraudulent online identity and authentication.
Best Practices for Protecting Customer Data, Including Encryption and SSL Certificates
All information passed between the client and Santander Bank is encrypted using conventional security methods. When a customer uses the bank’s mobile banking app, none of their personal information is stored on the user’s device.
The Payment Card Industry, Data Security Standard, is a set of rules that every business accepting credit card payments must follow. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of rules to keep credit card information safe. Encryption of data is one such regulation that ensures the safety of online transactions.
A user’s browser and website connection will be encrypted if you invest in an SSL Certificate. Keep your FTP credentials secure as well. Your name, date of birth, Social Security number, and phone number are not secure passwords. They must also have a set number of alphabetic, numeric, and special characters to increase their complexity.
Build a trustworthy privacy statement.
Organizations may gather the following types of information:
- Details for making contact
- login names and passwords
- past orders
- actions on a website
- Identifying information on an individual
Use of an App
Disclose what data is being gathered and how it is being used. Having transparent privacy policies will make your company more credible in the eyes of your customers.
To effectively convey the information, the booklet includes a few movies.
Google adds that if it wants to use user data in a way that isn’t described in the policy, it will get permission first. Customers are more likely to use a service after receiving promises like those.
Check for Security Flaws
Testing for vulnerabilities in an application allows for its detection, analysis, and prioritization. The goal is to learn how an app operates so that malicious behavior can be spotted.
The process doesn’t end with the application. You should also test cloud services and any APIs your organization uses. Remember that a security flaw in a single component might endanger the entire system and bring your company to its knees. So, whether in the cloud, on-premises, or a hybrid, you must test and secure them.
A group of experts is needed to analyze the test results and make judgments based on them. Hire an ethical hacking firm to try to crack your company’s website, web applications, and mobile apps if you don’t already have a cybersecurity team.
Some of your online apps may benefit from being scanned automatically by a vulnerability scanner. White hat hackers can be hired as an alternative. White hat hackers can fix bugs in software and systems so that sensitive information is not leaked. There’s also the option of employing professional security testers and researchers.
The best way to keep your company safe from hackers is to regularly update your computer and mobile devices. Due to the ever-changing nature of cyber attacks, it is essential to upgrade your traditional defenses.
One of the simplest things you can do to protect your company against evolving dangers is to update your operating system. However, let me add one other point. Sometimes upgrades introduce new security holes. For instance, the malware was recently transmitted using an exploit of a zero-day vulnerability in Windows.
Since updating your systems can have positive effects, you should be cautious and aware of any new security holes that may be introduced.
This serves to emphasize the significance of regularly updating your software.
In the 2017 Equifax data breach, hackers exploited a known website application flaw to access sensitive customer information. The personal details of 143 million Americans, including their birth dates and addresses, were compromised. As it turned out, the security flaw the hackers took advantage of had a remedy accessible two months before the cyberattack.
Equifax let down its customers in that situation. The Equifax breach taught us the importance of maintaining up-to-date software, which includes protections against vulnerabilities. Avoid ignoring them at all costs.
In many ways, our lives have become more accessible due to the widespread availability of the Internet and other forms of technology. These significant security risks can cost massive organizations a lot if ignored. But it doesn’t imply you can disregard them as a buyer.
You have an equal stake in this cycle and must always ensure your own protection. By adhering to these guidelines, businesses and individuals can improve their online security and privacy.
You can reach additional resources for e-commerce threats here.