With the advent of e-commerce, businesses have undergone a seamless transformation allowing them to reach customers directly and ensure doorstep deliveries. While shoppers enjoy the convenience and efficiency that comes with online shopping, it is crucial for businesses to acknowledge the role that robust security measures play behind the scenes.
A strong security strategy is vital for the success of any e-commerce business. According to Statista losses incurred by e-commerce due to payment fraud are projected to be 41 billion US dollars in 2022 with expectations of further rise up to 48 billion US dollars by 2023. Cyber attacks leave a trail of damage for businesses, harming their reputation and eroding consumer trust. Hence prioritizing e-commerce security should be at the forefront, for all businesses involved in this domain.
What does e-commerce security mean?
E-commerce security involves a set of accepted guidelines and practices that are designed to protect purchasing experiences on the internet. Its main goal is to establish an environment, for businesses and consumers by minimizing potential risks and threats, in the digital market.
Navigating the sphere of e-commerce security involves familiarizing yourself with various crucial aspects, for establishing protocols in your online store. These elements include:
Confirming the legitimacy of both buyers and sellers, validating their asserted identities. For instance, integrating multi-factor authentication methods, such as a fusion of passwords and biometric verification, introduces additional layers of security to affirm user identity.
Safeguarding customer data from unauthorized third parties underscores the significance of upholding the confidentiality of sensitive information. A practical measure involves encoding customer details during transactions, thwarting unauthorized access, and nurturing a secure environment for online shoppers.
Maintaining the unaltered status of data, ensuring that information remains consistent throughout its lifecycle. An illustration of this is the adoption of cryptographic hashes, where data is transformed into a fixed-length string, facilitating the easy detection of any changes and guaranteeing the integrity of the stored information.
Upholding the legal principle that prohibits involved parties from disclaiming their participation or attempting to retract their commitments. Digital signatures stand as an instance, supplying a cryptographic proof of origin and ensuring accountability by verifying the identity of the sender in a transaction.
8 Common E-commerce Security Threats
There are numerous cyberattacks that could endanger your online business. It is critical to understand these threats and how to avoid them. The 8 most common e-commerce security threats are:
- Phishing attacks
Threat: Phishing attacks, disguised as legitimate communication, attempt to trick users into disclosing sensitive or personal information such as passwords, and banking details. Hackers will take steps to appear to be a trustworthy company, such as including links to pages that look similar to sites the victim is familiar with.
Protection: Implement employee training programs to raise awareness of phishing techniques. Set up email filtering systems to detect and prevent phishing attempts. Communicate security best practices to users on a regular basis, emphasizing the importance of checking sources before clicking on links or sharing information.
- SQL injection attack
Threat: Most e-commerce sites keep databases of customer information such as email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers, and so on.
An SQL injection attack grants unauthorized access to these databases. A malicious piece of code can be used to bypass an authentication page and gain access to the entire back-end database. The user can then steal, modify, and delete the data.
Protection: To validate and sanitize user inputs, use parameterized queries and prepared statements. Conduct code reviews and vulnerability assessments on a regular basis to identify and correct potential SQL injection points. To detect and prevent SQL injection attempts, use web application firewalls (WAFs).
- Malware and Ransomware
Threat: Malware – an abbreviation for “malicious software” — is software that is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system. Ransomware, for example, is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files until the victim pays the attacker to decrypt them.
Malware has the potential to cause significant disruptions to you, your employees, and your customers. Attacks can halt your operations and prevent you from accessing critical systems. And malware removal is costly.
2.8 Billion Malware attacks occurred in the first half of 2022. Source: Statista
Protection: To detect and remove malicious programs, use powerful antivirus and anti-malware software. Update and patch software on a regular basis to address vulnerabilities exploited by malware.
- Cross-site scripting XXS
Threat: Cross-site scripting (XSS) is an e-commerce security threat in which a hacker inserts malicious code into a legitimate website. When a user visits an infected website, this code will attack them.
Client impersonation, keystroke logging, file/webcam/microphone access, and identity theft can all result from XSS.
Protection: To avoid XSS vulnerabilities, use secure coding practices such as input validation and output encoding. Scan web applications on a regular basis for potential security flaws.
- Man in the middle attack
Threat: A Man-in-the-middle attack is also known as an “active eavesdropping attack.” A third party listens in on a conversation or data transfer between two parties. This third party can also inject malicious software into the files being exchanged, infecting additional systems after the attack is complete.
Protection: To secure data in transit, use encryption protocols such as SSL/TLS. For internal communications, use secure and authenticated Wi-Fi networks.
- DDoS Attacks
Threat: Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks flood websites with traffic, causing disruptions and making them inaccessible for a short period of time. DDoS attacks are on the rise, and even the world’s largest corporations are vulnerable to being “DDoS’ed”. In February 2020, the largest attack in history occurred against none other than Amazon Web Services (AWS), surpassing an earlier attack on GitHub two years prior. The consequences of DDoS include a decrease in legitimate traffic, lost business, and reputation damage.
Protection: To detect and mitigate large-scale attacks, invest in DDoS mitigation services. Use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to distribute traffic and mitigate potential DDoS attacks. Test and optimize incident response plans on a regular basis to reduce downtime during an attack.
Threat: E-skimming is a method of stealing credit card information and personal information from e-commerce payment processors. Hackers gain access to checkout pages and capture payment information as customers type it in real-time in this attack. E-skimming can occur as a result of XSS, phishing, or brute force attacks.
Protection: Use PCI DSS-compliant payment gateways that are secure. Monitor and audit payment processing systems on a regular basis for unusual activity. Implement client-side security measures to detect and prevent malicious scripts from e-skimming.
- Insider threats
Threat: Insider threats pose a significant risk to e-commerce businesses. Ex-employees may try to steal company data or proprietary information and sell it to a competitor. Alternatively, they may try to lock or delete company data, causing your business to suffer.
Protection: To limit unnecessary access, implement strong access controls and privilege management systems. Regular security training is required to raise awareness about potential insider threats. Monitor and audit user activities in order to detect and respond to suspicious behavior as soon as possible.
In the ever-changing landscape of e-commerce security, a multi-layered defense strategy, combined with user awareness and proactive measures, is critical to protecting digital assets and retaining online customers’ trust.
E-commerce Security Best Practices
Here are some precautionary measures you can take to reduce the risk of e-commerce security breaches:
- SSL/TLS Encryption
Implementing a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS), establishes a secure, encrypted connection between your web server and the browsers of your customers, ensuring that sensitive information, such as login credentials and payment details, remains confidential during transmission.
- Safe Payment Processors
Make use of trustworthy payment gateways that comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). These services manage the safe processing of financial transactions, guarding against possible breaches of sensitive payment data.
- Frequent Security Inspections
Undertake regular security audits and evaluations to pinpoint vulnerabilities and possible shortcomings within your e-commerce system. Testing the security of your system on a regular basis enables you to find and fix problems before hackers can take advantage of them.
- Enhancing Access Controls with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Technology
To add an additional layer of verification beyond the use of standard username and password combinations, implement multi-factor authentication. Usually, a backup method of verification is used for this, like a code that is texted to the user’s phone temporarily.
- Device security
Your data will be further secured by installing a reliable antivirus program, maintaining network security with firewalls, and making sure these platforms receive regular updates. These measures will also help to keep your e-commerce platform free from interference.
- Advanced Cybersecurity Solutions
You can significantly improve the security of your e-commerce business by selecting a specialized cybersecurity solution designed for e-commerce, like Strobes. Strobes provides a full range of services and tools, such as monitoring, comprehensive vulnerability scanning, and real-time threat intelligence.
Integrating e-commerce-specific cybersecurity solutions guarantees a proactive strategy for spotting and eliminating possible threats before they have a chance to harm your online company.
Strobes for E-commerce Security
Unlike one-size-fits-all approaches, Strobes understands the unique challenges e-commerce businesses face. With a suite of advanced cybersecurity solutions tailored for e-commerce, Strobes provides a proactive strategy for identifying and eliminating potential threats before they jeopardize your online success. From comprehensive vulnerability scanning to real-time threat intelligence, Strobes stands as the guardian of your online presence.