Some of the major threats include financial fraud, malicious software (malware), automated programs (bots), deceitful online schemes (phishing), unsolicited messages (spam), overwhelming website attacks (DDoS), and unauthorized interception of communications (MITM attacks).
E-commerce is short for electronic commerce, and it means purchasing and selling things online.
It’s a significant part of our modern economy, offering customers convenience as they can access it from anywhere in the world and find a wide variety of products and services.
What Are These 7 Major E-Commerce Security Threats You Should Look Out For?
You might not fully grasp how serious an e-commerce security threat can be just yet, but please take this as a warning.
These security threats are genuinely significant and have the potential to harm your website to the point where it may suffer severe damage. It’s crucial to be informed about these threats and to remain cautious.
This is perhaps the most common e-commerce threat, and it’s been around since online systems first emerged. The hackers behind these incidents are quite clever.
They target the system to steal customers’ credit card information and carry out unauthorized transactions, along with deceitful return fraud. This poses a significant danger to the company.
Typically, this type of attack is called “E-skimming” or “Magecart attack.” It’s a unique hacking technique that allows hackers to use specific code to obtain credit card details. With this stolen information, they can conduct fraudulent transactions.
In simple terms, malware refers to the actions of hackers who somehow gain access to an administrator’s or customer’s computer system. Once inside, they can easily collect all sorts of data.
Malware also includes the use of software that can infect your computers and introduce viruses. Malware comes in various forms.
The most perilous type is “remote access trojans,” allowing hackers not only to extract data but also to alter it. Other types include “keyloggers,” which record keystrokes to discover login credentials, “ransomware,” which encrypts files, “API attacks,” and “SQL injections,” which target submission forms to capture data.
While it might seem like bots could be helpful and not a security threat, that’s not always the case.
Take the example of a well-known bot called the web crawler, which claims to assist in improving your website’s visibility on search engines. However, it cleverly acquires your inventory details and pricing information.
How does this benefit hackers? Well, having access to this information about your website allows them to compare it with their own and then potentially lower their prices or employ strategies to attract more customers to their site.
Phishing, in simple terms, is about deceiving people and making them believe you’re someone you’re not. Essentially, what these hackers do is use various methods to create a perfect copy of your website.
Once they’ve achieved this, they send emails to your customers on your behalf, trying to obtain their personal information and data.
Similar to phishing, “pretexting” involves hackers inventing scenarios and excuses to persuade users to share information or click on links that can compromise their account security.
Likewise, “baiting” entails hackers promising a reward to customers if they follow on-screen instructions, cleverly extracting important data.
Many customers can fall for this trick quite easily. In today’s world, a lot of communication, especially in areas like e-commerce, happens through emails. However, what these hackers do is create fake emails that pretend to be from your website.
Inside these emails, they insert harmful links that pose risks to user privacy. When customers click on these links, they get redirected to websites where it’s often too late to protect themselves, and the hackers achieve their goals.
This is a harmful tactic that requires a high level of cleverness. The “distributed denial of service” or “denial of service” attack is when your website crashes and experiences a temporary digital blackout, causing it to function poorly and disrupt its ability to work with other systems.
This occurs because these hackers continually bombard your server with an excessive number of requests until your website can’t handle the load and eventually crashes.
This usually takes place during peak times of sales and can significantly reduce your sales.
The “Man in the Middle” attack, just like its name suggests, can make your worst fears come true. Essentially, it means that there’s someone in the middle of your conversation with the client. Now, who is this someone?
Well, it’s the hacker who’s right in the middle of it all, listening to your discussions and gathering information and data while you’re on the call.
This becomes easier if you’re using an insecure Wi-Fi connection, as your IP address can help the hacker eavesdrop on your conversations and potentially use that information against your website.
What Strategies Are Effective In Countering These E-Commerce Threats?
Now that you’re aware of these 7 significant e-commerce threats, you probably understand how serious and harmful they can be, right?
So, if you’re seeking ways to prevent these threats, you’re in the right place. Below, I’ve provided a list of strategies that you can use to protect your e-commerce website:
Anti Malware Software
If you’re aware of the potential dangers of malware and still don’t have anti-malware software, you might be missing a vital piece of protection.
Malware is a prevalent tactic used by hackers, so it’s a good idea for every website to have anti-malware software. This software is designed to spot any suspicious activities.
It is generally quite effective in detecting various types of malware like viruses, trojans, worms, keyloggers, ransomware, and more. It acts as a safeguard for your e-commerce website, keeping it secure.
To safeguard your website from hackers, you need to step up your security measures. Multi-factor authentication is a technique that involves adding at least two layers of security to the login process. This creates a robust system for verifying who can access your website and data.
Beyond the initial step of entering your username and password, the second layer can take various forms. It might involve inputting a code sent to your phone, clicking on a push notification you receive, using a biometric method like fingerprint or face recognition, and more.
This is similar to the “two-factor authentication” feature found in many apps.
HTTPS And SSL
Today, having HTTPS and SSL certificates has become a common practice for e-commerce websites. These certificates are highly valuable because they ensure that all the data exchanged between a web browser and the website, as well as during transactions, remains safe and confidential.
They achieve this by encrypting the data, preventing any information from leaking. Additionally, these certificates can also improve your website’s ranking, making it a double benefit to have them.
Use Web Application Firewalls
Web Application Firewalls are indeed a wonderful tool. They not only keep unauthorized users out, but their most important job is to remove harmful traffic, especially in the case of DDoS attacks.
These firewalls, much like Content Delivery Networks (CDN), possess a remarkable ability to safeguard your website from crashing. They do this by carefully managing only the legitimate traffic and preventing any malicious traffic from sneaking in.
These firewalls scrutinize all incoming traffic and are quick to identify and block any malicious attempts to disrupt your website.
By stopping this unwanted traffic, your website is left with genuine visitors, potentially leading to more sales. Additionally, these firewalls also shield your site from threats like SQL injections.
Stay Updated And Back-Up Data
Whenever you encounter any issue with your website or security, no matter how minor, it’s crucial to address and update them promptly. Keeping everything up-to-date and functioning well is key to not giving hackers any opportunities.
Additionally, even if hackers manage to infiltrate and wipe out all your data, how will you recover years’ worth of information? That’s where regular data backups come in.
It’s a good practice to regularly create copies of your data and, as an extra precaution, store a duplicate of that backup. This way, if any unexpected problems occur, your website and its data will remain safe and unaffected.
Secure Payment Gateway
Payment gateway systems serve as a bridge between your website and third-party payment services.
The ideal gateway is one that encrypts all your data, has strong security to prevent hackers from breaching it, assigns distinct codes for different types of information, and checks that the billing address matches the one on the credit card.
Such a gateway is incredibly valuable as it helps you maintain trust with your customers. It ensures the safety of all their transaction data and sensitive information, protecting it from potential hackers
Strong Unique Password
Have you ever noticed that when you’re creating a password, you sometimes receive a message saying it’s “weak” and should be made stronger? Ever wondered why?
Well, that’s because weak passwords pose significant risks. Hackers have a better chance of either guessing your password or finding a way to crack it, giving them access to your website to misuse it.
So, it’s a good idea to choose a password that’s not overly complicated but strong enough to protect your account and reduce the chances of unauthorized access.
Why Should You Prioritize E-Commerce Security?
As you’ve learned about the various threats that e-commerce websites can face, including the 7 major ones mentioned earlier, it’s clear how crucial it is to give top priority to your e-commerce security.
It’s essential not to underestimate the importance of your security because these threats, even beyond the major ones, can potentially cause significant harm without appropriate safety precautions.
Here, I’ve outlined a few reasons why it’s important to be cautious and attentive when it comes to your e-commerce security:
|Protect Data||An e-commerce website contains important data, not just for the website administrators but also for the customers. Security threats can misuse this data, leading to issues like unauthorized transactions. Therefore, safeguarding this data is essential for security.|
|Maintain Trust||Imagine this from your perspective as a customer: if you visit an e-commerce website and hackers misuse your data, it’s going to shatter your trust, right? You’d probably stop using that website, and that means the website loses your trust and your business as a customer. Therefore, having strong security measures in place helps build and maintain customer trust.|
|Maintain Reputation||Your e-commerce website has its own reputation, and that reputation can be easily tarnished if you don’t implement the right security measures. Hackers meddling with your data and customer information can cause a significant drop in your reputation.|
|Protect Finances||There’s a risk of substantial financial losses for both the website administrators and the customers, and you may have to compensate the customers as well. So, ensuring security is crucial to protect your finances and prevent potential financial hardship.|
|Avoid Downfall||If your e-commerce website falls victim to hackers and attackers, it can disrupt your system, resulting in reduced revenue and the loss of valuable sales. This can lead to your business facing difficulties. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that your security measures are robust and in place.|
|Legal Conformity||Lastly, if the privacy and sensitive information of customers is compromised in any way, it can lead to legal consequences. In some regions, there are strict laws concerning the safety of customer data. So, it’s incredibly important to have strong security measures in place to prevent such situations.|
- E-commerce is about buying and selling goods and services online.
- Major e-commerce security threats include financial fraud, malware, bots, phishing, spam, DDoS attacks, and MITM attacks.
- Effective strategies like anti-malware systems, backed-up data, strong passwords, secure payment gateway, etc are essential to protect against these threats.
- Prioritizing e-commerce security is vital to safeguard data, maintain trust, prevent financial loss, protect your reputation, avoid business disruption, and stay competitive.