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Top Security Threats Facing Your Ecommerce Site Right Now

by | Jun 22, 2021

A close up of a man holding a credit card in his right hand and a cellphone in his left.

With cyber-attacks, malware, and online fraud incidents increasing by the day, there’s an urgent need for online businesses to deploy the most robust security possible.

Today’s businesses rely on digital tools to inform their business decisions and to understand and improve customer relationships. For organizations that regularly process online transactions and handle sensitive financial information, any data loss could be disastrous. Unfortunately, the threat landscape is growing day by day, both in scope and complexity.

Common Ecommerce Security Threats

Cyber-criminals are getting more sophisticated all the time. Their methods include:

  • Phishing, a tactic that targets employees primarily through emails and SMS. Communications appear to be from a legitimate source, but their main objective is to convince employees to give up their personal information or login credentials.
  • Spam might seem like more of a nuisance than anything else, but it can cause incredible disruption. Typically, you’ll see spam messages if you allow unmoderated commenting on any of your pages. These messages often contain malicious links that your site visitors unwittingly click on. So, while you’re not directly responsible for the bother, it will give your site visitors a poor impression of your company.
  • DDoS, or distributed denial of service, happens when malicious actors leverage vulnerabilities in your system to take over machines, unsecured IoT devices, or computers to launch an attack, usually aimed at overloading or crashing your servers.
  • Malware can be delivered into your system through links in fraudulent emails or other methods. Malware could be simply annoying, like adware that hijacks your browser, or it might contain viruses, trojans, or ransomware that could bring your company to its knees.
  • SQL injection (SQLi) allows malicious actors to interfere with system database queries, giving them unauthorized access to sensitive data, e.g., personally identifiable information (PII), personal financial information (PFI), medical records, corporate intellectual property (IP), and more.
  • Bots mimic human behavior and, if applied to malicious intent, can cause real harm to an ecommerce business, either through credit card fraud, customer account acquisition, or price scraping.
  • Credit or debit card fraud, in which a malicious actor uses stolen credit card credentials to make significant purchases on your site. Without adequate payment card security, you might be responsible for refunding these amounts to the rightful cardholders.

Of course, these are just a few examples of ecommerce threats you might encounter. The threat landscape is ever-evolving, so working with a reliable cloud solutions provider like Rewind gives you added layers of security and expertise against whatever may come your way.

The Cost of Cyber Attacks

Regardless of the type of security threat you’re facing, the results are the same: disruption of business, loss of business continuity, and a severe hit to your brand. In the 24/7 ecommerce world, any downtime is costly. If you have to shut down any part of your operations to recover from a malicious attack, it’s unlikely you will recoup the loss.

According to IBMs Cost of a Data Breach Report 2020, it takes the average business 280 days to identify and contain a breach. The average cost of a breach worldwide is $3.86 million, but in the United States, that number inflates to $8.64 million per breach and is expected to rise even further in the coming years. These numbers represent a 9.8% increase over the previous year.

In Canada, costs increased by 6.7% in 2020, with 42% from malicious attacks, 23% from human error, and 35% from system or software errors.

In the UK, thousands of confidential patient records were accessed by employees who had access to the system but no authority to snoop through private health records. It took place over approximately 18 months and involved multiple employees but was only brought to light when a patient filed a complaint. As a result, every patient whose records had been inappropriately accessed (some of them on multiple occasions) are entitled to compensation up to £30,000. When you consider 2,000 potential complainants, that adds up pretty quickly.

This NHS breach happened because employees had access to private medical records without proper controls in place. Inadequate training and system security created vulnerabilities ripe for exploitation. You’d like to think that people would know better, but if you leave a door wide open, chances are somebody’s going to walk through it eventually.

How Your Ecommerce Website Can Become Vulnerable

When you consider the cost—to your bottom line and your reputation—protecting yourself, your customers, and your data should be a primary concern. Educating yourself and your employees about potential threats and knowing how malicious actors achieve their objectives puts you one step ahead of the game.

If you’re unsure where to start, scheduling a risk assessment with a cybersecurity specialist is always a good idea. They will go through your systems, applications, and dependencies to identify potential hazards, evaluate the level of risk associated with them, and put measures in place to eliminate or at least control the risk.

Here are some of the ways your ecommerce website could be at risk and solutions you should consider:

  • Unrestricted access. Not all your employees need access to every area of your website. For example, your content creators don’t need access to your site’s code. Implementing role-based access to all systems ensures that information is only viewable by the appropriate personnel.
  • Non-compliant applications. If you are using third-party apps or plugins, you need to update them in the same way you update all system software. If an app doesn’t comply with newer versions of your platform, get rid of them immediately.
  • Weak passwords. Using strong passwords—ideally passphrases 12-16 characters in length—reduces the risk of malicious access by hackers. Password hacking software can crack weak passwords quickly. Using a password manager like 1Password makes this process easy and secure. It’s also good practice to enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication. That way, you’ll always know if someone is attempting to access your system fraudulently.
  • Unsecured website. Selling online safely requires SSL certification and HTTPS. If you are using outdated HTTP protocols, your site visitors will receive a message that your site is unsafe—not a great encouragement to buy from you. HTTPS also helps your search engine rank, as Google prioritizes secure websites.
  • Unsecured payment gateway. Storing customer’s credit card information on your system is a massive risk. In the event your site is hacked, you’ll lose in countless different ways—not the least of which will be regulatory fines that might bankrupt you. Using third-party payment processors like PayPal, Stripe, or Square, is a way to avoid this pitfall.
  • Lack of company security policy. Establishing company policies around online security is essential. Staff should be aware of potential risks and understand protocols around data privacy. Educate your people, refresh often, and enforce compliance. Employees should not share credentials, and their access should be revoked immediately if and when they leave the company.
  • No backup policy. Cybercrime isn’t the only risk to your ecommerce website. Human error is a significant concern, as are third-party applications. For example, you might install a new SaaS app on your system that causes your entire site to look or perform differently than you want. A backup can help you restore to a time before installing the app, minimizing downtime and reducing your anxiety. Cloud backups are ideal as they provide the ability to restore systems fully, even if you lose your physical premises. A strong backup policy is a critical aspect of any disaster recovery program (DRP) as it ensures you have a copy of your entire ecommerce store, its assets, and dependencies whenever you need it.

Software Solutions To Address Ecommerce Threats

Most SMBs don’t have the advantage of an in-house cybersecurity team. Even with IT talent on staff, they might not have the expertise required to protect you from all potential threats. As quickly as security solutions and patches are pushed out, new threats are on the canvas, so your defenses must be as solid and proactive as possible.

Working with cloud solution providers gives you a significant advantage in this regard as you’ll always have access to the latest innovations in cybersecurity. Systems are updated continuously, so you won’t have to worry about what you might have overlooked.

Of course, threats can come from the inside as well. Keep your employees informed about phishing tactics and other scams, and deploy solutions like 2FA and single password managers to add extra layers of protection.

How Rewind Helps

In today’s increasingly complex online threat environment, your site and systems need all the protection they can get. Continuous cloud backup from Rewind is one way to gain peace of mind so you can get back to doing what you do best.

Rewind offers automated, cost-effective, user-friendly backup tools that protect your ecommerce website data. You’ll only pay for what you need, and plans are instantly scalable should you experience rapid growth.