Ecommerce is a booming industry, amounting to 3.53 trillion dollars in 2019 alone. As more and more of our lives exist online, spending habits are shifting from in-person to via internet shops. If you’re a business owner, you’re going to want a piece of that pie. Setting up an eCommerce store takes significant effort.
You have to develop a website, create a marketing strategy, build an audience, and much, much more. Now, consider if all those efforts suddenly vanished and all your hard work was in vain.
This reality is one faced by many eCommerce business owners who have overlooked security. Unlike physical shops, numerous threats exist that can take down your entire store before you’ve even noticed a problem.
Keeping your company safe from cyberattacks starts by knowing what risks exist.
Here are five of the most common that have appeared in 2019.
1. Direct Hacks & Data Leaks
Hacks and malware are ongoing threats that develop and grow from year to year. ECommerce stores are prime targets for these types of attacks, as they store sensitive data such as credit card details and personal information.
Common types of hacks that result in data leaks include:
- Brute Force Attacks
These attacks gain entry to your admin panel by bombarding the log-in with countless variations until they find the right password. Usually, this is done with specially designed software that can try multiple combinations per second.
While bots are rarely used to get into the backend of your site, they are commonly employed to scrape website inventories and other relevant business information. These results can then be used to undercut your pricing or gain insights into your business practices. Hackers can sell this information to your competition and affect your sales as a result.
- SQL Injections
Hackers use your comment sections and query forms to inject malicious code into your database. This code then sits in the background without you noticing and collects data that is input by you and your customers. This information can then be used for direct or identity theft.
- Trojan Horses
Website plug-ins and supporting software sometimes have a hidden secret. Cybercriminals hide malware inside these products so that they can gain direct access to the backend of your site. Once they’re in, they can collect and leak data back to their creators. The best way to bypass this issue is to stick to well-reviewed and trusted products.
For more information about how to protect against these specific threats, visit a reputable search engine to find the most up-to-date tips and advice for each one.
- Social Engineering
Social engineering (or ‘phishing’) is a massive threat to eCommerce websites. As online security becomes tighter, many hackers bypass trying to crack into the system and aim to trick the business owner and employees instead.
This cyberthreat usually involves some type of message – whether that’s email, social media, text, or even over the phone. It encourages you to share sensitive information or click infected links. Hackers usually try to mimic trusted organizations, such as your CMS or ESP, to lull you into a false sense of security. It may ask you to input your password to authenticate yourself or open a new window to read more information. The attacker then intercepts those details or downloads malicious software that will extract data from your computer.
As social engineering develops in complexity, it’s becoming harder to recognize fraudulent messages. However, some common features do exist. These include:
- Unofficial email addresses. If the sender email doesn’t match the one advertised on their official website, then proceed with caution.
- Call to Action. Phishing emails will always ask you to take an additional step.
- Unsolicited. If you’ve just signed up to a service, you can expect a confirmation email. If one appears randomly after months of subscription, it’s probably fraudulent.
- Urgency. Attackers want to put you into a state of panic, so you act fast and without thinking. Be wary of emails that use language like ‘warning,’ ‘caution,’ or ‘act immediately.’
- Threats. They also use serious repercussions to trick people into responding, such as closing down your account or fining you money.
Staying vigilant is the best way to protect your business against this threat. Make sure that you and your employees are all trained to understand and respond accordingly to suspicious messages.
- Staff Error
Phishing isn’t the only way that insufficient staff training can pose a severe threat. While technology is mostly impenetrable, human error is a common occurrence within any business. The reality is that no matter what security protocols you put in place, silly mistakes can completely nullify any efforts.
Picture this: your virtual assistant (VA) has had a long day monitoring sales and traffic, creating spreadsheets, and updating articles in WordPress. They finish late, so simply switch off the monitor and call it a day. The problem? They’re still logged-in. Something as simple as this is the equivalent of leaving your door unlocked. It’s easy for attackers to hijack the account and use it as an access point. Properly training your staff to understand the risk of their errors is paramount to security.
Other examples include:
- Leaving default passwords when you create an account or not changing your passwords regularly. Usually, default passwords are simple and not very secure, which makes them easier to decode.
- Keeping your log-in name as ‘admin’ or your first name. Your username is 50% of your security credentials. If it’s left as something easy to predict, then you’ve lost 50% of your protection.
- Storing passwords in emails or social media accounts. These secondary accounts are also vulnerable to attack, so leaving sensitive work information within them means it can be intercepted.
4. Card-Not-Present (CNP) Fraud
As a business owner, you’re responsible for the safety of your customers. While some online threats might not harm you personally, if those who shop with you fall
CNP Fraud is a relatively new threat that was born out of eCommerce culture. While it’s easy for hackers to intercept credit card details online, it’s harder to get hold of the physical card. This restricts the kind of purchases that can be made. Since most eCommerce shops only need your bank information to complete a purchase, they’re often used to transfer cash out of the victim’s account and into physical goods.
To protect your customers, you need to ensure a contingency for this situation. One option is to use two-factor authentication – where a code is sent to the customer’s phone – or to only allow payments via trusted vendors, like PayPal.
5. Denial of Service
While protecting the data of you and your customers should be your paramount concern, the health of your site is also important. Any downtime will result in lost sales, and your reputation could take a hit.
Denial of Service attacks
- Denial of Service (DoS)
Where a single endpoint is used to flood your server with countless TCP and UDP packages, overloading the system and making the website unavailable for other devices.
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
Where the attack is launched from multiple locations, sending packages to overload the system. These types of attacks are harder to recover from because it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact origin.
The best way to stay safe from an attack is to monitor your network. If you see an unusual rise of traffic from a specific IP address, then it’s likely that you’re at risk. Blocking that address before it can do any harm will help you stay safe.
Protect Your eCommerce Business From Hackers
With so many online threats, it may seem overwhelming to tackle cybersecurity. However, the repercussions of not doing so are particularly severe. Take the time to associate yourself with the relevant threats, as well as understanding how personal security and business security are interchangeable.
If you and your staff can act conscientiously and stay up-to-date on the latest threats and security practices, then your business can thrive in the online market place.