Learn the top four ecommerce security vulnerabilities to protect your shoppers and your store
Research shows the 2019 total market share of online U.S. retail sales was higher than general merchandise sales for the first time in history. For ecommerce store owners, this reaffirms the future of their market. However, cybercriminals are also excited by this increase in online shopping because it provides a much greater pool of targets for their malicious codes and malware attacks. As the number of targets grow, the returns on these successful attacks promise to be greater, too.
A busy website means more conversions, and that can entice cybercriminals to deploy stealthy attacks, such as cross-site scripting (XSS). Or, they may go straight for your customers’ personal or financial information using SQL injections to steal directly from your database.
Unfortunately, the more business your site brings in, the more likely it is that some of this traffic will be malicious. The good news is you can beef up your site’s security and lower the risks of becoming a victim by implementing the right cybersecurity solutions. To start, let’s explore the top four vulnerabilities facing your ecommerce site and the steps you can take to protect your site and customers.
When selecting an ecommerce platform for your business, you can improve the experience of your site by keeping these three features in mind for any solution you choose:
Outdated software is one of the most common security vulnerabilities in ecommerce platforms because the burden of managing and maintaining all required software updates typically falls on the website owner or administrator. With many priorities to juggle, remembering to manually complete these updates is often overlooked, leaving the website vulnerable to cyberattacks. At the very least, security issues can hinder your site’s performance and impact your customers’ experience. It can also lead to larger breaches that can jeopardize PCI compliance, regulations like CCPA (for California residents), and more.
Experiencing a breach can destroy confidence in your site as well as lead to enormous fines. To avoid these damaging effects to your business, you can use a website scanner to automatically detect and patch outdated software, both in core files and in plugins, without breaking the functionality.
Ensuring site files are up to date is a great way for you to protect your site from experiencing a breach, but it doesn’t guarantee complete protection against stealthy attacks, such as SQL injections and XSS. As the name suggests, stealthy attacks are known for their ability to quietly invade and infect, and they are extremely difficult to detect and are only becoming more sophisticated.
Along with SQL injections and XSS, another type of stealthy attack is called a backdoor, which is a type of malware cybercriminals use to gain unauthorized access to your site through unsecure entry points, such as outdated plugins or input fields. Backdoor attacks can be very lucrative because they provide unlimited access to your entire site and server. This can lead to cybercriminals stealing customer information from your database and selling it on the dark web. If your site experiences either of these attacks, it exposes your customers to identity theft as well as putting your business at risk for numerous threats.
Another best practice is to use a web application firewall (WAF) to block unwanted traffic, bad bots, and the top web application threats (known as the OWASP Top 10). In addition, an automatic malware alert and removal tool can scan your entire file system and MySQL database for malware, spam, and other threats. Some solutions can even remove any threat it detects automatically.
Installing an SSL certificate is a must for ecommerce sites, and it isn’t just for show. The https:// designation at the head of the URL means any data traveling between the site and its server is highly encrypted. This is especially important if you store customer information in your database because any interceptions could leave that data exposed to theft.
If you haven’t already done so, ensure to install an SSL certificate to protect your customers’ credit card data while it’s in transit to the server. Also, as an important best practice, be sure to encrypt any sensitive data located within your database. Have a security specialist review activity logs on a regular basis to check for any suspicious events.
Spam bots aren’t exactly stealthy, but they can be just as damaging to your site. A common sign that a cybercriminal is scanning your site for vulnerabilities is if you notice random, obviously fake comments being left on your site’s comment sections.
If you choose to follow the security recommendations in this blog, those SEO spam bots won’t find any easy routes into your system. However, it’s a best practice to safeguard against them anyway by implementing a CAPTCHA feature on all of your site’s form fields. This will block the bots from deploying scripts or modified queries that could lead to a database attack in the near future.
In today’s current threat landscape, you can’t avoid the threat of cybercriminals. In addition, the more success your ecommerce site experiences, the greater a target you and your customers will be. The good news is you can protect your business, your customers, and your online reputation by taking these measures to meet the threat head-on and proactively defend against them.
Whichever option you choose, remember to make cybersecurity a priority. Even if you have a beautiful ecommerce website that users can navigate with ease, customers will be reluctant to do business with you if they don’t trust you to keep their information secure. By selecting any of the secure ecommerce platforms above, you can provide the best customer experience possible — and incorporate security to protect your site and customers.