E-commerce companies now account for the bulk of retail sales. This is unsurprising, given the ease of access and wide variety of goods the average online store offers. However, this explosion in choice and traffic has brought unwanted attention from malicious actors.
Security is now more central to E-commerce store success than ever before. Customers are highly sensitive to data security measures and recognize the effort (or lack of it) a store puts into its security posture.
Here are three e-commerce security threats every merchant must protect themselves from to ensure their customers keep returning to them.
Malware is a blanket term that refers to several threat types. From DDoS attacks to viruses, malware can cover plenty of attack vectors. DDoS attacks are increasingly common these days. In this attack method, a malicious actor attempts to overload an E-commerce store’s servers.
They do this by repeatedly sending server requests, overloading the server, and disrupting the website. While this attack doesn’t involve theft, it’s purely malicious and keeps genuine customers away from the store.
Measures like secure SSL certificates and working with highly reputed cloud server security providers prevent such attacks from causing damage. Other examples of malware include phishing emails.
Phishing is constantly at the top of the most prolific cyberattack methods. Despite its legacy approach of targeting employee emails, it remains highly effective. Phishing is best kept at bay through employee education and clear communication.
Often malicious actors send emails that clone E-commerce store communications, confusing customers, and making them victims of chargeback scams. The best way to protect customers is to let them know what kinds of emails you’ll send them and what information you’ll request.
Educating customers is critical since a victim is likely to transfer blame to the store and avoid shopping there after an incident. Finally, E-commerce stores must watch out for ransomware attacks.
Ransomware is an extreme form of malware attack where hackers spread malware, lock companies out of their systems, and demand payment in return for control. However, even if the company pays ransom, it isn’t guaranteed to receive control of its servers back.
Creating backup resources and business continuity plans is essential to combating ransomware. Paying the ransom should never be an option. Instead, E-commerce merchants must secure their systems as much as possible and rely on their backups in such situations.
Every E-commerce store hosts forms and these are vulnerable to SQL injection attacks. In this form of attack, a malicious actor injects code into a form or any input gateway to access data. Typically, if an E-commerce store’s servers are not encrypted, hackers can access sensitive information by entering code as input.
The downsides of these attacks are enormous. Hackers can read the store’s database and access the data within them. Personal information like customer names and addresses, along with order histories are vulnerable to being made public.
The best way to protect against such attacks is to ensure servers are encrypted. With most E-commerce stores relying on cloud service providers to offer such security, their choice of service provider becomes highly important.
Verifying the cloud service provider’s track record and response times in case of incidents is critical before choosing one.
Most E-commerce companies are discovering new ways to engage with their users. However, some of these ways can expose them to malicious actors and XSS attacks.
An XSS attack occurs when a hacker uses bots to spray a website with malicious code. Once a user clicks the piece of code, their device is infected with malware. Primary E-commerce websites usually don’t suffer from this vulnerability.
Instead, secondary sites like forums or blog discussion areas are vulnerable. In these channels, users closely associate every communication with an E-commerce merchant, making the ramifications of an XSS attack even worse.
The best way of preventing such attacks is to host engagement discussions on a protected public platform (like social media) or behind a gated community where companies can verify access. This protects users from malicious attacks and helps companies protect their brands in case an attack occurs.
With gated communities, companies must still enforce top-notch cyber security principles. Tools like anti-malware and endpoint detection systems are critical to protecting users.
Cybersecurity is an E-commerce pillar
Cybersecurity is now an E-commerce pillar with consumers highly sensitive to the steps a company takes to offer a secure experience. E-commerce merchants must invest in the best security solutions out there and communicate these efforts to users.
Simultaneously, they must also educate users and help them protect themselves in case a malicious actor hijacks a popular brand. These steps will build trust amongst customers, ensuring the company flourishes in the long run.