Ricky Hayes May 11th, 2021

Five Security Threats E-Commerce Businesses Frequently Face

An online business has numerous benefits over a physical one. It doesn’t require any space, staff members, accountants, etc., to run the business.

An online business can be started pretty quickly. All you need is an internet connection, a good eCommerce platform, and a few clicks. 

And voila, your website is ready!

However, there are a few drawbacks of an eCommerce business. A customer cannot touch or hold the products at an online store, he cannot speak in person to the sales staff if he has any queries, and his private information is also at risk.

Keeping your eCommerce store safe requires the same efforts as securing a physical shop. The advancement of technology has not only made people’s lives easier but also made their private and sensitive information vulnerable to hacking and being misused.

Ecommerce businesses are often at a target when it comes to cyber-attacks and hacking. People provide their personal information, share their addresses and contact numbers, and give out their credit card details while placing online orders. Needless to say that crimes are bound to happen where money is involved. Ecommerce websites are the perfect place for hackers to steal the details of the customers’ credit cards and company secrets. 

Prioritizing eCommerce Security 

E-Commerce stores must prioritize the security of their websites to provide a safe and enjoyable shopping experience to the customers.

Customers will never trust a website that is prone to hacking or cyber-attacking. After all, everybody wants their information to be in safe hands. If your website is free from all types of security threats, customers would love to shop from you and share their details on the site for placing orders.

On the other hand, failure to have a robust security system will make you lose customers and lead to legal implications if a customer’s information is misused or not protected by the company.

Five Security Threats E-Commerce Businesses Frequently Face

The following are the five security threats that eCommerce businesses frequently face. Read the following paragraphs to understand the types of security hazards and what damage they can cause on your website.

1. Financial Frauds 

The most common type of problem that eCommerce businesses face is financial fraud. These frauds can cost a company a good amount of money and weaken the trust of its customers.

Numerous financial frauds exist in the online world. However, here we are going to discuss the ones which are most common in the eCommerce world.

a) Credit And Debit Card Fraud 

Identity theft is a serious crime and can lead to severe legal implications. Did you know 35.4% of the total identity theft is committed by stealing the information from debit and credit cards?

The hackers access the website’s network and steal the details of the customers that they provided to place their orders. The hackers can use the credit card details to place their orders on your website or any other website globally.

Suppose a business delivers the goods to a hacker who used the information of some customer. In that case, it will lose its goods and have to refund the customer whose credit card was illegitimately charged. 

The business faces a financial setback and also loses the trust of its customers.

b) Fake Return And Refund 

The hackers can also perform unregistered transactions at the website and clear the trail of records. It can cause the business a significant loss. Some attackers can also file for fake returns or refunds by using the identity of a customer. If a company refunds the amount to the hacker mistaking him for a customer, it again loses its revenue.

2. Phishing Attacks 

Phishing attacks are one of the most common eCommerce security threats. In 2020, more than 76% of business became the victim of phishing attacks.

The attackers trick the customers by presenting them with a deceptive email that appears as a legitimate email sent by the business.

The fake email would be perfectly presented as if sent by the company. It will then ask the customers to share their private details and credit card information by replying to the email. If the customers fall prey to this email and provide the hacker with their details, their information is at risk.

Moreover, these hackers and attackers can use the customers’ login details and access the website to steal more information or harm the website’s traffic or speed.

Phishing attacks are not only done through email. Many times a person is sent the message on his social media profiles through fake profiles.

3. Spam

Another major threat to eCommerce’s security is spam emails. These emails are one of the common ways through which hackers attack the website and leave infected links on it.

In many cases of phishing and malware attacks, spam emails are used to carry out the attacks.

Attackers hack the email accounts of the customers or the organizations that a business knows. The spammer sends the email and attaches an infectious link that can harm the website’s security and slows down its speed.

These online hackers can also comment under the blog post and paste their infected links. Moreover, they can disturb your website by attaching spammy links in the contact or checking out forms.

4. DDoS Attacks 

DDoS is abbreviated for distributed denial of service attacks. In this type of attack, the website’s server is hit by sending a massive amount of fake traffic. The overload of traffic paralyzes the server; as a result, it slows down. The website becomes inaccessible or doesn’t function properly because of DDoS attacks.

The website’s speed becomes slow, and consequently, it affects the user experience and leads to an increased bounce rate. Moreover, the inaccessibility of the website results in lower conversions and fewer sales.

DDoS attacks are common, and many renowned brands have fallen prey to this attack, for instance, Etsy, Shopify, and PayPal. Small eCommerce businesses can quickly become victims of such attacks if they do not implement proper eCommerce security solutions.

5. SQL Injection And Malware 

SQL injections and malware are generally considered the most common types of cyber-attacks.

Let’s look into the details of both:

a) SQL Injections

To gain access to the website, the hackers inject harmful SQL commands into the scripts that the eCommerce website requires to operate.

The malicious commands injected by the hackers affect how the critical data is read by the website. It allows the hacker to run specific commands on your website, affecting its speed, functionality or shutting it down altogether.

Websites that use SQL databases are prone to SQL attacks.  If your site uses an SQL database, ensure that only restricted people have access to the admin panel, update your website regularly, and scan the applications, tools, and plugins if they are vulnerable to attacks.

b) Malware

If a hacker wants to target the key person’s computer who has access to the eCommerce website admin panel or wants to attack the server hosting, he will resort to using malware.

Malware enables the hacker to take over the webserver and run commands, giving him access to the data on your server or system. It can also allow the hacker to hijack a certain percentage of the website’s traffic.

This malicious activity results in a loss of traffic, conversion, and revenue for an eCommerce website.

Ecommerce Security Solutions

Have a look at the following eCommerce security solutions to protect your website from eCommerce security threats.

1. Switch To HTTPS

If your website uses HTTP protocols, unfortunately, it will be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The first step to ensure the safety of your website is to switch to HTTPS protocol. These protocols display a trustee green lock sign which mentions ‘secured’ right next to the URL bar on the users’ computer.

When a user sees that the website is secured and his information will not be at risk, he can comfortably explore the site and share his details and credit number.

If a user accesses a website that uses HTTP protocol, his browser will warn him that the website is not secured. Some browsers deny access to such websites and block them right away.

Switching to HTTPS protocols also improves the website’s ranking as this protocol is considered a ranking factor by Google.

2. Secure Your Server And Admin Panels 

The majority of the eCommerce platforms have a simple password that hardly takes a few seconds to crack. Failure to change the default password makes it easier for hackers to attack your website and steal its data.

Set a complex password for your admin and server panel. Use alphabets, numbers, and special characters to strengthen your passwords to prevent your website from getting hacked.

Moreover, set your admin panel to notify you instantly if suspicious IPs attempt to log in to the admin or service panel.

3. Employ Multi-Layer Security 

An eCommerce website can strengthen its security by employing various layers of protection. It can use a widespread CDN, i.e. Content Delivery Network, to prevent the DDoS attacks and heavy load of fake traffic on the website.

The website can use the two-step verification process before letting the users access the website to add an extra security layer.

Two-step verification requires the input of the user’s email/username or password and a unique code sent to him by the business through an email or SMS. The user will only be allowed in when he enters the code.

This extra layer of security ensures that only legitimate users access the website and not the malicious attackers.

4. Install Antivirus And Anti-Malware Software

Hackers can place their orders on any website using the stolen credit card details from an eCommerce website.

Businesses that have antivirus or anti-fraud software installed can combat the issue of stolen credit details. The smart algorithms of this software can trace the illegal transactions to enable the company to remedy the problem.

They also provide a fraud risk score to the entrepreneurs to help them determine the transaction’s legality. 

5. Use Firewalls 

Another solution to strengthen the security of your eCommerce website is to use firewall software. It is pretty inexpensive yet highly effective to keep untrusted and suspicious networks away from your website.

Firewall software and plugins also govern the traffic that enters or exits the website. They only allow the trusted traffic to enter the website and keeps malicious traffic at bay. 

Moreover, these plugins also protect the website from common eCommerce security threats, such as SQL injections, cross-site scripting, etc.

6. Educate The Customers

Sometimes the websites are at risk not because of their weak security systems but due to the customers’ ignorance. Therefore, educate your customers about how their data is at risk if they set a weak password for their accounts.

Moreover, inform your customers that you will never send them an email or SMS requesting them to enter their personal data or credit card details. If they receive such emails or text messages, they shouldn’t be responded to and deleted at once.

Pulling The Plug…

It is a smart and cautious approach to be familiar with the security threats that prevail in the online environment and how they can affect the website’s performance, speed, and security.

It is essential to educate yourself about the techniques that can help you strengthen your website’s security to protect your customers’ and company’s valuable and confidential information.

What are some other common security threats that you know of? Please share it in the comments below.

Ricky Hayes

Ricky Hayes is the Co-Founder and Head of Marketing at Debutify - free Shopify theme, helping dropshippers build high-converting stores in minutes. He is a passionate entrepreneur running multiple businesses, marketing agencies and mentoring programs.

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