A Must-Read Guide on How to Protect Your Online Store
Website owners need to be aware of eCommerce security more than ever before with the growing popularity of online businesses. Cybercriminals have been getting more and more sophisticated in their attacks, which means the protection plan for your online store has to keep up with the latest cybersecurity threats and industry trends (wanna know some Shopify scams?).
And you thought it was challenging to create the eCommerce website? That was probably the easier part – the most critical aspect of running your online business is to keep it safe from hacks, phishing, and other forms of cyberattacks. The biggest nightmare you can have as an online store owner is losing your reputation and customers to an online breach.
So, instead of waiting for an online security attack and reacting to it, get proactive, and implement a robust protection plan to protect your online business. Take a look at a few of the most common online security attacks and the top protection plans you should consider securing your eCommerce business.
Common eCommerce Security Threats
Ecommerce stores provide a convenient shopping option for customers. Nowadays, a lot of shoppers pick online shopping using traditional shopping mechanisms. Unfortunately, the rise in popularity of eCommerce has also attracted the curse of cyber threats.
Here are some of the most common online threats you should be aware of:
SPAM stands for Stupid Pointless Annoying Malware. It refers to all forms of unsolicited, unwanted digital communications – usually in the shape of emails that are sent in bulk.
Spammers may also use your contact forms and blog comment sections to drop infected links to harm your website. Spam mail and messages affect your website’s security, but they may also damage your website’s performance.
This is one of the purest forms of cyberattack and yet the most effective and dangerous. Phishing emails fool the customer into believing they are originating from an authentic business and trick them into giving up sensitive information such as login credentials and credit card information. The most common forms of phishing are email spoofing and social engineering.
Also called spiders, web bots, internet robots, and crawlers, they are not only used by search engines but also are a common form of malware.
Malicious bots gather inventory and pricing data by scraping your website. The hackers may utilize this information for changing the prices on your eCommerce store or hoarding popular items in their shopping carts – leading to decreased sales and revenue.
Distributed denials of service attacks disrupt regular traffic of your website, network, or service by overloading the target or its supporting infrastructure with a surge of fake traffic to take it down. It is like a traffic jam that clogs the highways, which prevents regular traffic from reaching the intended destination.
Brute Force Attacks
These attacks use trial and error methods to obtain confidential information, such as passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs). Cybercriminals connect with your site and try all possible combinations to crack the password.
SQLi is a form of injection attack that uses the query submission forms on your website to access the database. Attackers work around your application’s security measures by exploiting SQL injection susceptibilities. Hackers can add, alter, and remove records from your database by using SQL injections.
XSS (Cross-site scripting) attacks inject malicious scripts into your website. The attacker utilizes a web application to transfer malicious code to another end user, usually in the shape of browser-side scripts.
The browser cannot tell if the script is trustworthy and executes it. Since the user cannot determine if the malicious script originated from a trusted source, it gets access to the sensitive information (such as cookies and tokens associated with the session) stored at the user’s end for that website.
Trojans are malicious software or code that seems legitimate but deceive your computer and take control of the machine. They are designed to steal, damage, disrupt, or inflict some other harm to your network and data.
Ecommerce Protection Plans
Irrespective of the kind of security threat you are dealing with, you can well imagine the cost of such an event to the reputation and profitability of your business. This is where eCommerce protection plans come to your rescue. Let us look at a few of the top ones that you can implement to enhance your eCommerce business’s security.
Switch from HTTP to HTTPS
HTTP is the mechanism by which the information travels on the internet, and HTTPS is the solution to protecting online traffic. HTTPS protects the transmitted data by using SSL certificates.
An SSL certificate works with private and public-key encryption. Thus it makes it near impossible for a hacker to make sense of the information being exchanged between the web server and the user’s browser. Using SSL certificates also gives your website an SEO boost.
We recommend using an EV SSL Certificate when moving your website from HTTP to HTTPS since it carries the highest business validation. And provides your users with the maximum confidence of being on a secure site – this means they make more purchases and your profits go up. When you redirect the website to HTTPS, make sure it should be entirely redirected to HTTPS means all scripts, cookies should be loaded over HTTPS only.
Ensure that you can trust your hosting company with eCommerce security. Check for the existence of server-side firewalls and options to use CDNs (Content delivery networks). Stay away from hosting plans that force you to coexist with other websites on the same server environment.
Also, change the default passwords and keep changing them frequently – use hard to guess complicated login names and passwords.
Payment Gateway Security
Never hold on to information related to payment instruments on your servers and make sure that your payment gateways are protected.
Consider using 3rd party payment processors, such as PayPal, to handle online payments.
Antivirus and Anti-Malware Software
Both antivirus and anti-malware are software specialize in the detection of malicious software and protect you from malicious software by removing it. Deploy such software to protect your online business from viruses and malware.
Your web host would typically already have a firewall in place to protect your server. However, it would help if you considered getting an additional one for your website. Most firewalls come with many useful security plugins built-in that you can use for protecting specific parts of your eCommerce store.
Firewalls ensure that only trusted traffic can get in and provide you protection against threats like XSS and SQL injections.
As mentioned earlier, spam can be a real headache for your online business if your website has blogs and contact forms. Use spam blockers to keep your site safe from spamming threats.
PCI DSS Compliance
PCI DSS standards are a globally accepted benchmark to ensure the safety of eCommerce websites and have been adopted by all major credit card companies in the world. Compliance with this set of standards certifies that it is safe to perform online financial transactions on your site.
A CDN that has been adequately configured also helps protect your eCommerce store against malicious threats such as DDoS attacks.
Ecommerce Security Plugins
Using eCommerce security plugins is a convenient way of protecting your website. They come in various flavors and protect against DDoS attacks, code injections such as CSS and SQLi, evil bots, and scores of other severe cyberattacks.
Backup your data regularly so you can quickly recover in the case of a server/software issue or cyberattack. Engage automated backup solutions, so you do not have to remember to take one and miss out on having a copy of your website at periodic intervals.
Outdated software, including versions not supported by the vendor anymore and missing out on the recommended updates, leaves your online business vulnerable to attacks.
To keep your eCommerce business running smoothly, make sure you keep your servers, network, and software updated at all times.
Strong Password Policies
The security of your eCommerce business depends a lot on the people who have access to your servers, network, website, databases, and other assets. Make sure that you enforce strong password policies across the board, including your customers.
In summary, it is smart to know about the threats that may harm your eCommerce business. You should also know how to protect your assets from hackers. No matter what you do, there is always a chance of you begin under fire at some point, so make sure your protection plan includes recovery procedures. Stay on top of the security of your website with regular security audits – use the tips outlined in this article.
How To Report a Scammer
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How To Prevent Identity Theft and More
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