Security Risks That Ecommerce Businesses Face and How to Avoid Them

With the ecommerce business models gaining more and more traction, the industry is growing fast and it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. But because of this, ecommerce businesses are the most targeted by hackers and wrongdoers.

If in the real world, you can just set up a store and lock it up, in the digital world things are way different. The tricks hackers use to target an online store are almost countless and if successful, they can affect how your business is perceived by your customers.

To help you out a bit, we’ve put together a list of the most common security risks that your ecommerce website might face, along with solutions to these. And if you’ve already gone through a couple security breaches, this guide will help you bulletproof your protective measures.

1. Credit Card Fraud

This type of breach is the most common and it happens when someone uses a stolen or fake credit card to make a purchase. You’ll be able to spot these, however, because the shipping and billing address will always be different. So how do you stop these types of scams? There are a few tools online that could help, but your best bet is to install an Address Verification System (AVS).

Another credit card related scam happens when the thieves steal personal data (usually your clients’) so they can get a new credit card with it. This is why it’s so important that you use top-notch encryption tools and methods so your clients are as safe as possible.

2. Phishing Attacks

Another very common method that hackers use to take over your site is phishing. You might think this can’t be a problem but sadly, it happens more than you think. When phishing, a wrongdoer will send a series of deceptive emails claiming to be someone that you know in an attempt to convince you to send over your login details.

With enough information, a phisher will be able to create a page that looks and acts just like your login or registration one. Then, they will send you a message disguised as your provider, saying that something’s wrong and you should fix it. The best way to protect yourself and your business against this type of cyber attack is through proper training on how to recognize and report phishing.

3. DoS and DDoS Attacks

A DDoS attack (Distributed Denial of Service) attack happens when a hacker uses multiple computers to overcharge your website with false traffic to make it inaccessible for actual users. They use untraceable IP addresses to flood your website, having it eventually crash. DDoS attacks are some of the most damaging practices because they usually lead to major losses in traffic and revenue. And with huge ecommerce businesses like Etsy or Shopify being targeted, you can only imagine what this will do to your small business.

You can protect yourself against DDoS attacks by using a WAF (Web Application Firewall) to filter out bad traffic, enable geo-blocking in case you notice weird traffic from a particular area or change your server IP and immediately contact your ISP.

4. Malware

Malware is any piece of software that was specifically designed to gain access to private info, damage computer systems or entire networks. They’re usually sneaked into website files through SQL injections and they’re “great” tools that allow hackers to fake their data, gain access to and control devices, mess with databases and even gain entire access to all the data on your system or server.

The best way to protect yourself, your employees and your entire business from malware is first through common sense – don’t click any suspicious links and don’t download any shady attachments. You should also install a firewall that will monitor your website’s activity, while storing as little sensitive data as possible.

5. SQL Injections

We’ve mentioned SQL injections as a way for hackers to add malware to your system. But that’s not all they do – SQL injections are the most common cyber attack on this list and your ecommerce business isn’t safe from them either. It works by “injecting” a piece of malicious SQL code into the scripts that your website runs. Once successfully settled, the hacker will get access to data that wasn’t meant to be shown – number of items, private company information or customer details.

Every website that uses SQL is vulnerable to such attacks. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways in which you can protect yourself and your business. You can create whitelists to make sure that only certain people have access to certain parts of your website, keep your website updated constantly with the newest tech and scan your web apps for any vulnerabilities.

6. Spam Emails

You should always consider the spam emails a serious security breach – they’re the main way in which most of the other attacks on this list happen. Phishing and malware attacks, for example, often happen through spam emails. You see an email from someone you think you know, click on the link (or download the attachment) and the hacker instantly gets access to all your data.

You can keep the spam at bay by implementing better email filters, using firewalls and using a solid antivirus software. If you have employees, you should also invest in some training for them – the most simple mistakes can have disastrous consequences.

Final Thoughts

Your ecommerce website is only as solid as the security systems it has in place. Going above and beyond to protect your business from cyber attacks is something that should be a main priority to you, whether you run a small family shop or a huge ecommerce platform with thousands of orders every day.

And if you want to succeed in the online medium, your cybersecurity should come first. Hackers are getting better and sneakier, which means you always have to keep up with the newest security tech and updates. You should always aim to provide your websites with around-the-clock protection.

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