Learn the top four eCommerce security threats and vulnerabilities to protect your shoppers and your store
eCommerce is growing, and quickly — global eCommerce made up 21% of total retail sales in 2021, up from 15% in 2019. For eCommerce store owners, this reaffirms the future of their market. But 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 grows, the returns on these successful attacks promise to be greater, too.
A busy website means more conversions that can entice cybercriminals to deploy stealthy attacks, such as cross-site scripting (XSS). Or, they may go straight for customer data or financial information using SQL injections or phishing attacks to steal directly from your database. Data security issues can lead to many problems, from online store disruptions to more serious security concerns – like credit card fraud or ransomware.
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 risk of becoming a victim by implementing the right cybersecurity solutions. Let’s explore the top four vulnerabilities and threats 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 cyber threats 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Outdated software is one of the most common security vulnerabilities in eCommerce platforms because the burden of managing and maintaining all required software updates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, most overlook updating them manually, 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 data breach can destroy confidence in your site and lead to enormous fines. To avoid these damaging consequences to your eCommerce business, you can use a website scanner to automatically detect and patch outdated software, both in core files and in plugins, without breaking the functionality.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 security breach. However, it doesn’t guarantee complete data 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. They are also 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. This type of malware is used to gain unauthorized access to your site through unsecured 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 – leading to cybercriminals stealing sensitive information from your database and selling it on the dark web. If your website experiences either of these attacks, it exposes your customers to identity theft and puts 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, trojans, and other threats. Some security solutions can even remove any threat it detects automatically.
Installing an SSL certificate is an absolute must for eCommerce sites. 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 hackers.
If you haven’t already done so, install an SSL certificate to protect your customers’ credit card data while it’s in transit to the server. Also 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.
Spambots 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 spambots 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.
A distributed denial-of-service or DDoS attack is another common malicious tactic in which a group of bots overwhelms a server or network, resulting in a denial-of-service to normal traffic. The most obvious symptom of a DDoS attack is a site or service suddenly becoming slow or unavailable, but further investigation is required to confirm. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to prevent this type of attack.
In today’s current online landscape, you can’t avoid the threat of cybercrime. 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 easily, customers will be reluctant to do business with you if they don’t trust you to keep their personal data secure from fraudsters. By selecting a secure eCommerce platform, you can provide the best customer experience possible — and incorporate security measures to protect your site and customers.