Ecommerce Security – Threats, Types & Store Best Practices

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Ecommerce security

Are you an eCommerce store owner?

Worried about growing ecommerce threats in 2021? Do you know, Online ecommerce sites experienced 22.4% of all successful cyber attacks in 2019-20. In this post you will learn everything about what is e-commerce security, its importance, types of e-commerce security solutions & tips to protect your ecommerce site from hacking. 

Are you aware that online businesses experienced 1001 cases of all successful cyberattacks in 2020?

Therefore, E-commerce websites have to take all the necessary security measures to ensure the protection of their customers’ personal and financial information.

During the pandemic, what would have happened to our lives without e-commerce? We all appreciate their existence.

It may seem ironic, but if there is anyone who has the pandemic to thank for showing up, it is e-commerce.

According to studies, the growth of e-commerce during the health crisis is evidenced in the following: if before the e-commerce channels of companies represented 5% of sales, today they reach up to 100%.

These great benefits of e-commerce in the direct return to companies have produced a high demand to improve their digital e-commerce ecosystems in an accelerated and aggressive way.

This makes perfect sense, since the competition is no longer who has the most beautiful and comfortable store. Now, the real showdown for brands is how useful and easy it is to buy from your e-commerce for your users.

What’s more, now users not only need that, but they demand the guarantee of improved security of e-commerce store.

Best eCommerce platforms in 2021

For some time now, the growth of e-commerce has been exponential, so it is not uncommon for there to be countless programs to create virtual stores.

When we consider opening our online store, we will have to be very clear about both the current needs and the possible future needs of it, to choose the most optimal software.

If we had to choose 12 platforms to create e-commerce, these would be the ones that, without a doubt, we would take into account:

  • Shopify
  • Magento Commerce
  • Template Monster
  • 3DCart
  • BigCommerce
  • WooCommerce
  • Salesforce Commerce Cloud
  • Squarespace
  • Yo!Kart
  • Volusion
  • Prestashop
  • Wix

What is eCommerce security?

 ecommerce security dimensions

Ecommerce security meaning – It is the guideline that ensures safe transactions on an ecommerce web store. It consists of protocols that safeguard people who engage in online selling and buying goods and services. You need to gain your customers’ trust by putting in place eCommerce security basics.

For these reasons, security systems have been developed for Internet transactions: Encryption, Digital Signature, and Quality Certificate, which guarantee confidentiality, integrity and authenticity respectively.

For this reason, it is essential to bet on a series of specialized ecommerce security solutions aimed at protecting your digital environment. Consider these security challenges in consumer-oriented eCommerce before you think of opening an ecommerce website.

You must earn the trust of your customers by putting the fundamentals into practice. These fundamentals include:

  • Privacy

Privacy includes the prevention of any activity that will lead to the sharing of customer data with unauthorized third parties.

Other than the online seller that a customer has chosen, no one else should access their personal information and account details.

  • Integrity

Integrity is another crucial concept . This means ensuring that all the information that customers have shared online remains unchanged.

The principle states that online commerce uses customer information as it is given, without changing anything. Altering any part of the data causes the buyer to lose confidence in the security and integrity of the online business.

  • Authentication

The principle of authentication in security requires both seller and buyer to be real.

Customers are also required to provide proof of identity to make the seller feel secure when transacting online. It is possible to provide authentication and identification.

If you can’t do it, bringing in an expert will help a lot.

  • Non-repudiation

Repudiation means denial. Therefore, non-repudiation is a legal principle that requires players not to deny their actions in a transaction.

The company and the buyer must follow up on the part of the transaction that they have initiated. Ecommerce may seem less secure because it takes place in cyberspace without live video. Non-repudiation gives e-commerce security another layer.

Therefore, a party in this particular transaction cannot decline a signature, email, or purchase.

Please refer to the below guides for CMS specific security measures:

Common Ecommerce Security Issues

1. Lack of trust in the privacy
2. Malware, viruses, and online frauds
3. Uncertainty and complexity in online transactions
ecommerce-security-issues

What are the benefits and drawbacks of e-commerce?

The truth is that the appearance of e-commerce has been one of the greatest revolutions in recent years.  And although there were already other forms of telematics sales (by catalog, by telephone, etc.).

Nothing is comparable to the turn of the screw that e-commerce has entailed for the purchase and sale of goods and services.

As we know through studies, only in the USA, 7 out of 10 Internet users already make online purchases, which represents a total of 20 million people. And the USA is not the country with the highest penetration of e-commerce. This gives us a clear answer to how prosperous e-commerce is today.

The security in e-commerce and specifically in commercial transactions is a very important aspect. For this, it is necessary to have a secure server through which all confidential information is encrypted and travels safely.

This provides confidence to both suppliers and buyers who make e-commerce their usual form of business.

Now, let’s analyze what are all those advantages and disadvantages that this new way of doing business provides us:

Advantages of eCommerce

If we have to think of a top 10 benefits of e-commerce, we can think of many more advantages than 10, but the most relevant would be the following:

  • International sales

In a traditional store, we can only make sales to those people who visit our store. Whereas in an online store, the possibilities are endless.

  • Show your products better

Good photos, at a good angle and with the right camera, can turn a mediocre product into a quality product.

  • Custom user experience

Thanks to big data we can know in advance a lot of data about our potential buyers, which will make the purchase totally personalized to their interests, with an impeccable digital experience.

  • Flexibility when making payments

Currently, online stores offer various forms of payment to facilitate the purchase to the user: Paypal, bank transfer, credit card, installments…

  • Possibility of income for 24 hours 365 days

Traditional commerce has a great disadvantage compared to online business since it is only open for certain hours a day and not every day. That in online stores is not a problem.

  • Remarketing to connect with customers

Thanks to remarketing we can once again impact old clients or potential clients who have been interested in our products, to regain their attention and buy our products

  • Easier to obtain user data

In most online stores, today, the buyer is asked to register and there we can get information from him that, in a transaction in a traditional store, would be impossible to collect.

  • Faster growth

By having almost infinite possibilities in the online world, business growth can occur much faster than if we compare it with the growth options we have in the offline world.

  • Improvement of the brand image

Having an online presence gives us a more innovative image than traditional commerce. In addition, we have complete control of what we want to show and say about ourselves, which will give us relative control of what they think of us. The e-commerce Headless also allows us to customize our online store to the maximum.

  • Reduction of expenses and intermediaries

Not having the need to buy or lease premises will be a very high saving for any business, for example.

ecommerce_challenges_transaction

Disadvantages of eCommerce

As we mentioned previously, the advantages of e-commerce can be divided between benefits for companies and benefits for consumers. Based on the advantages for companies, we can list the following:

  • Cost reduction: It is not the same to open an online store as a physical store, just as it is not the same to advertise on TV as on social networks. Having an online store is infinitely cheaper than a physical store.
  • Greater knowledge of your customer: When a person goes to buy from a physical store, you do not know anything about that person. Nor where is he from, what interests does he have, etc. However, thanks to big data, you will be able to know a lot of details about the buyers (or potential buyers) of your store, to offer them the products or services that may interest them the most. So you can customize the sale to the maximum.
  • Organic growth: If you do not have a large advertising budget, content marketing, social networks, positive product reviews by the client, etc. They will help you get new sales without “investing” money in advertising.
  • 24/7 presence: And as we mentioned at the beginning, you will be able to sell your products at any time and from anywhere, making the sales options grow exponentially.

In this sense, below we want to share some of the best security tips for Ecommerce websites.

Why is e-commerce security so important in 2021?

Need+for+E-Commerce+Security - Importance

People’s buying habits evolve over time and much more with the current contingency of COVID-19, for these the advancement of technologies is inevitable.

This directly affects companies and the way they approach customers. That is why it is necessary for brands to have an online presence, but it is not enough to have a website: it is essential that the user experience when buying in this way is completely satisfactory.

Hacking is on the rise. It is very important to have the right tools to fight against the ecommerce security threats: direct fraud, information theft, Phishing, and DDoS attacks.

If you have an online store, you should know that the security of your e-commerce is a factor that you should not lose sight of.

For both customers and retailers, the consequences of being hit by an online security attack can be damaging. If hackers get hold of confidential data, including personal customer data, credit card information or business data, it can cause many negative repercussions.

For starters, customers will lose confidence in that business and avoid shopping there in the future, while companies not only face loss of customs and disruption of their operations but their reputation and brand could end in ruins.

When the media takes over the news about a business undergoing a cyberattack, it can take many years for that business to regain trust.

A good company must show that it cares about the safety of its customers. Because if your customers don’t feel completely safe in your e-commerce, forget about selling.

Even if you have the best prices or products, a customer is not willing to risk a cyberattack or information theft.

Therefore, it is the task of brands to ensure and provide peace of mind to their users with greater control of malicious acts. For this reason, later we will give you some tips to ensure the security of e-commerce.

The following image from idtheftcenter.org shows the breach count for 2020 (blue) against 2019 (yellow) in the retail sector.

 ecommerce-data-breaches

Why is PCI compliance important for your e-commerce?

You must first understand that PCI compliance is not a law or a government regulation. Its correct name is PCI DSS, which stands for “Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard” and essentially refers to a standard containing a series of security requirements that all merchants, large or small, must adhere to.

Every merchant must comply with PCI Compliance, even if you don’t handle a large number of transactions or use third-party vendors to outsource credit card information.

For merchants who outsource their payment processes, the scope of PCI is smaller and verification requirements are minimal.

Many eCommerce retailers think PCI compliance doesn’t apply to their businesses because they’re too small. In fact, this standard applies to any business that processes, stores, or transmits credit card data. If, as the manager of an online store, you don’t take security seriously and suffer a hack with the theft of customer information, you can face serious repercussions.

As a result, PCI compliance is mandatory if credit card payments are accepted, so conditions should be followed and met.

If not followed correctly then  you may face penalties, fines, or even the business may be banned from accepting credit cards as a form of payment in the future. Hence the importance of PCI compliance for e-commerce. 

Types of Ecommerce Security, Threats & Issues

 

types of ecommerce security threats

SourceE-Commerce Security and Fraud Issues and Protections – springer.com

 

It’s every website owner’s nightmare to wake up one day to find that a security hole has been exploited to hack their website. Unfortunately, this is a situation that happens more often than one might imagine.

Above all, as soon as you own a business and have a certain reputation, the risk is even greater, as the challenge of hacking the site becomes interesting.

This is why it is so important to make sure that everything is in place so that the website is well protected and to do regular checks to see if there are any potential vulnerabilities.

Hackers are creative and have a multitude of types of attacks that they can try to hack your site. The following tips are general and do not represent absolute solutions, but may still help prevent most potential problems.

It is also important to prioritize according to your type of website.

According to Google, the number of hacked websites increased by around 32 percent in 2016 compared to 2015.

Fortunately, the search engine was able to reduce webspam in 2017, as over 80 percent of the hacked websites were removed from search results.

While Google is making significant strides in combating website hacking, you shouldn’t be complacent. Aggressive hackers track compromised websites. If you don’t secure your outdated website now, you may be the next target of their attack.

Ecommerce Security - Threats and Prevention

Spam

Hacked spam is the most common type of website compromise. Spammers inject content into a legitimate website in order to direct traffic to a malicious or deceptive website.

Hackers may redirect content to pharmaceutical, gambling, or pornographic websites that can cause real harm to your actual website. They are trying to use your website’s reputation to rank their bad content.

More and more threats revolve around e-commerce. From Vipnet360 we want to review some of the dangers that affect one of the most widespread commercial practices in our society.

The risks in e-commerce are especially directed towards the sensitive data of the user in order to compromise their security to economic, technical and personal level.

Next, we will list some of the main dangers to which you must be cautious now to make your purchases from the network.

Phishing

Phishing within e-commerce

SOURCE – Phishing within e-commerce: A trust and confidence game

Phishing is a kind of fraud committed by electronic means by which the fraudster tries to achieve, legitimate user, confidential information fraudulently.

The scammer or phisher impersonates the identity of a trusted person or company so that the recipient of an apparently official electronic communication, via e-mail, fax, SMS or telephone, believes in its veracity and thus facilitates the resulting private data of interest to the scammer.


Anti-Phishing Working Group. Phishing Attack Trends Report,

Pharming

Criminals redirect their victims to bogus web pages using various methods, such as emails with flashy subjects for victims to open and be attacked; endangering private information.

Pharming includes sending fake emails from legitimate companies or entities and directing the recipient to fake websites that replicate those of the legitimate company or entity.

Also Read – WordPress Pharma Hack

Malicious Codes / Malware

Today there is a new trend that reflects that fraud techniques through the Internet are moving from those based on social engineering, towards those based on the injection of malicious code or malware.

This change in trend is the result of increased public awareness about security, hence the increased caution of citizens when providing their personal data and other methods are used beyond deception to collect user information.

The malware present on computers intended, for example, to steal banking data of users using systems to intercept the keys and passwords or programs that corrupts navigation infrastructure and redirect users to fake websites. It can  lead to many issues such you might start seeing a red screen with “Deceptive site ahead” written in it, its rendered by Google on sites identified as phishing or hacked to ensure the safety of the visitors.

A malware can cause many serious Issues include –

Carding and skimming

These techniques consist of the fraudulent use of cards (carding) and the copying of magnetic stripes (skimming). This allows access to bank accounts, stolen card numbers, magnetic stripe overturns as well as personal profiles.

Crimeware

This technique includes password stealers and grabbers that record data from the keyboard, perform video capture or take screenshots and send the data collection sites. The crimeware is often associated with rootkits (malicious programs that hide the crimeware and make it invisible to many security tools).

This form of attack specializes in targeted attacks, penetrating computers that visit fraudulent websites and eluding detection by antivirus unless they are able to identify them generically or through behavioral analysis.

Clickjacking

This technique, also known as click hijacking, is a vulnerability that affects browsers and other web products.

Through this technique, an attacker can force the user’s computer to click on any link or link on a website, being able to direct navigation to websites with viruses, Trojans or unwanted ads, without the user realizing what is happening.

DDoS Attacks

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and DOS (Denial of Service) attacks aim to disrupt your website and affect overall sales. A DOS exploit attack flood your servers with numerous requests until they succumb to them and your website crashes.

Further Study The Impact of DDoS on E-commerce

Brute Force Attacks

These attacks target your online store’s admin panel in an attempt to figure out your password by brute-force. It uses programs that establish a connection to your website and use every possible combination to crack your password. You can protect yourself against such attacks by using a strong, complex password. Do remember to change it regularly. Read more – WordPress Brute Force Attack – How To Protect Your Website?

SQL Injections

SQL injections are cyber-attacks intended to access your database by targeting your query submission forms. They inject malicious code in your database, collect the data and then delete it later on. Techniques like SQL injection, malware files can allow hackers to:

Because malware strategies are constantly evolving, so too must your anti-virus protocols. To protect your site against security threats to your e-business, consider installing a firewall to monitor activity and store as little sensitive information on your site as possible.

Suggested readSteps to remove malware from wordpress website

XSS

Hackers target your website visitors by infecting your online store with malign code. You can safeguard yourself against it by implementing Content Security Policy.

Account acquisition

The theft and selling on of login details is a major industry in the darker corners of the web. Once a hacker has these credentials, they can send out bots to try username and password combinations on many different retail sites until they’re successful. Once in, the hacker has free-rein to place orders, steal card details, and more.

Price scraping

Price scraping bots can be sent by competitors to monitor your pricing, pricing strategy, inventory levels, marketing plans, and more, allowing them to undercut your prices or outrank you in search engine results.

Tips To Improve eCommerce Store Security & Best Practices

E-Commerce Security Issues - Threats And Attack Prevention

Several actions can be taken to protect your e-commerce site from hackers.

With the growing power and expertise of regulatory bodies, consumer associations, competition (which often uses the former to denigrate and annoy).

And the threats of cybercrime, an e-commerce site can no longer afford in 2021 to ignore the elementary precautions that guarantee its sustainability.

Here is now in detail the implementation of technical and legal security on your e-commerce site.

Scholorly Refernce –  pcisecuritystandards.org best_practices_securing_ecommerce.pdf

1) Change your passwords

It might sound like basic advice, but yet every year you see how lax people are at this level. Already, we often see how passwords that are too simple are still commonly used. The “1234” and “abcd” are to be avoided, especially when it comes to accessing the back-end of the site and entering the database.

The study found that an average of 19.1% of corporate users set poor passwords, whether those that have been used elsewhere, have been shared, or are particularly weak. This translates to 1 in 5 corporate users having a password that could easily be guessed by a malicious actor.

On the other hand, even if you use complicated passwords, it is still better to change them often. To help you stay on top of this, you can use a password manager.

For those lacking inspiration, using tools like KeePass or LastPass can give you passwords that are complex enough to fool hackers.

Also keep in mind that it is not recommended to use the same password for more than one service, because if you are the victim of a hack, you are particularly vulnerable.

2) Monitor activity on your database/site

Databases are particularly vulnerable to attacks, especially when users can submit attached files or fill out forms where they could write code.

It is, therefore, necessary to assess whether there is a potential for people who visit the site to be able to access the code and make modifications to it using this technique.

If you are able to do this, test yourself. Otherwise, do not hesitate to hire experts to accomplish this task.

In this regard, note that enabling Google Webmaster Tools (Google Search Console) is a great way to be made aware of abnormal activity happening on your site.

Indeed, as Google regularly updates its search index, it is able to quickly spot any activity deemed suspicious. Also Read – How to Track (Monitor) User Activity in WordPress?

3) Check that the software is updated

All software associated with your website should be updated regularly. You are probably using CMS or software associated with your server.

During each update, additional protections are integrated and Security Vulnerabilities are sealed.

Therefore, these “updates” are of vital importance. You can also use software that will alert you to the presence of vulnerabilities in the software.

When you receive a notification, be sure to respond as quickly as possible.

4) Make sure you share as little information as possible

For example, when your site issues error messages, you should make sure that these messages do not reveal too much information (including API keys).

In all situations, make sure that the information and messages you share with users contain as little specific data as possible.

5) Apply HTTPS everywhere on your website

Haven’t applied HTTPS to your site yet? Don’t delay doing it! Especially if your site does not adhere to this security protocol, some search engines like Google and Bing will penalize it by lowering it in the rankings.

In short, HTTPS is a communication protocol that guarantees among other things to the visitor that his information is sent to the site’s server and that the data is encrypted, thus avoiding the possibility that third parties can access it.

It is all the more important to use it on pages where visitors must send sensitive information (passwords, personal data).

Also, note that the HTTP protocol should be activated with an SSL certificate. Indeed, the latter represents a form of additional protection as much for your visitors as for yourself.

6) Install security plug-ins

Some wordpress security plugins that you can install on your website will increase the security of your website, their main purpose being to block the path of would-be hackers.

You will find a lot of options, depending on your needs. For example, some plugins are specifically designed for WordPress while others work with CMS.

Do your research and watch the reviews to get a good idea of ​​how reliable they are.

Use an Address Verification System (AVS)

One of the safest ways online retailers can facilitate credit card processing is by the use of an Address Verification System (AVS). This system is capable of comparing a customer’s billing address against the information stored on file by a credit card issuer. It can block any suspicious transactions if the information provided doesn’t match with the one stored on the credit card.

7) Make regular backups

Back-ups of your website should be done at regular intervals. How can backups help improve site security? In fact, if you have a problem, you can quickly restore the site and get it back up and running without much hassle.

Most hosting services will offer a backup option. You can also see if your CMS software contains the option or if you can install a plug-in that does the job automatically.

On this point, let us specify that we must compare the number of backups that must be made with the number of updates made on the site.

So, if you update every other day, you should have 15 backups done per month.

Further Reading – How to Backup WordPress Database Manually?

8) Use a tool to test the security of the website

There are tools that allow you to make a general diagnosis of the security level of your site and suggest you tips to improve website security.

These tools are very useful and can be activated on a regular basis, either weekly or monthly, as needed. Security scans should also be performed whenever a medium or large change is made to the site.

Also Check out our huge list of wordpress vulnerability scanners & website security testing tools.

Ecommerce Security - Threats and Prevention

9) Consult cybersecurity specialists

Regarding the previous point, it should be noted that these tools are not infallible and that nothing replaces the expertise of cyber security specialists!

This is why you should use the services of a firm or a self-employed person who has a lot of experience in this field.

Typically, these companies offer several options, ranging from WordPress Security Services to Security Audit Services For K-12 school, Universities.

10)  Fix loopholes quickly

Whatever your situation, one of the most important things to do is fix any flaws you find on your website as quickly as possible.

Do not wait for a problem to arise before reacting! Indeed, even if the flaw is minor, it could expose you to significant problems. You don’t have the expertise to make the necessary changes? Call on specialists!

We have referred to it several times during the course of the article, but it is important to specify it again: security measures are all the more essential when it comes to an e-commerce site. Visitors to your site need to know they can trust you.

11)  Install SSL Certificate

We are moving to the next level, because here the more technical part of your site comes into play.

The security “s” and the small padlock in front indicate that the connection is secure.

The http protocol (formerly used) does not encode the data exchanged during an online transaction, but sends it as plain text, thus risking leaving this information available.

In order for this “s” to appear in your online store address, you must install an SSL certificate that encrypts data sent between the user and the server (or in your case between the buyer and your store).

Most online shoppers know that a site without https is less secure, which can cause them to abandon their purchases.

In addition, the fact of not installing an SSL certificate on your site impacts your organic positioning, because Google penalizes sites without https.

This is why, for the sake of your organic positioning and your sales, be sure to update yourself!

12)  Use a firewall

A firewall is a hardware or software system that serves as a communication between two or more networks, allowing access to authorized traffic and blocking any suspicious user.

There are a multitude of firewalls, but for your e-commerce we recommend proxies, which work as an intermediary between the buyer and your online store.

Define your payment methods

The payment options you offer your customers are critical to finalizing a sale. If you don’t offer any of the important options, some buyers might look elsewhere.

If a security breach occurs and their personal data is stolen, it will be very difficult for you to regain their trust.

Most of the advice presented above applies to e-commerce sites, but for an additional guarantee, you should seek the advice of an expert.

Such professional services can present you with actions precisely tailored to your needs and those of your users.

13) Deploy Multi Layer Security

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) that is widespread can block DDoS threats and infectious incoming traffic. They use machine learning to keep malicious traffic at bay.You can go ahead and squeeze in an extra security layer, such as Multi-Factor Authentication. A two-factor authentication is a good example.

 Ecommerce Security Infographic

Ecommerce Security End Note

e-commerce is a strategic activity that companies must begin to implement ecommerce security best practices in order to achieve competitive advantage and development.

However, there are various risks in information security, and both companies that provide e-commerce services, as the users who access these services are responsible for minimizing the dangers that will always exist.

Users and companies mainly focus on virus attacks, access to their computers and security of their accounts, but leave aside other critical aspects.

Such as digital certificates, data backup and data encryption, which are necessary processes to perform operations over the Internet with greater security.

ECommerce websites seek to give users an excellent browsing and shopping experience, to achieve this it is necessary to have the correct service strategy and security measures to be always available, with protection against any contingency.

Don’t stop there though, as hackers have gotten smarter. Always make sure you have a proactive e-commerce security solution in place on your website.

Use WP Hacked Help scanner to run a malware scan to prevent your website from being affected by malicious software and detects various vulnerabilities. We also provide affordable WordPress malware removal service.

Now, go ahead and implement these  e-commerce security measures.


Lu Tao and Lei Xue, “Study on Security Framework in E-Commerce”, 1–4244-1312-5/07 © 2007 IEEE.

4.Ahmad TasnimSiddiqui and Arun Kumar Singh, “Secure E-business Transactions By Securing Web services”, 978–0-7695-4853-1/12 © 2012 IEEE.