Starting your own eCommerce website is an exciting prospect and can represent a workable approach towards early retirement. While there are a number of factors that can make or break an eCommerce business, there’s one you should never make any compromises on - and that is security.
If there is any deficiency in this respect, not only you but also the customers and other stakeholders could be in great danger of loss of money and privacy. Let’s start by defining eCommerce security and then we’ll look into some of the major threats to it and how they can be mitigated.
What Is eCommerce Security?
eCommerce security is the name given to the measures taken to secure an online business from malicious activity. Whether you accept online payments or not and regardless of how big your business is, you need eCommerce security.
A recent study by Imperva, a web security company, pointed out that as much as 29% of the users on eCommerce websites are bots trying to harm it.
Another thing you need to understand is that hackers are not always up to actual monetary fraud. They can also target the reputation of your business, which can be even more damaging.
Now, let’s see what the common forms of attack against eCommerce Websites are.
Common Forms Of Attack On eCommerce Websites
There are countless forms of attack that can be used to compromise the security of an eCommerce website and hackers keep coming up with new ones all the time.
1. Brute Force Attacks
This is the most primitive form of attack on any software system (or any system in the world). What it does is simple. A network of bits is used to try random password and username combinations to hack into a system.
There is, categorically speaking, no defense against it. All you can do is to lock the admin login option after a set number of unsuccessful tries or use two-factor authentication for admin profiles.
2. SQL Injection Attacks
SQL, short for Structured Query Language, is the standard coding language used to run and maintain databases. A user can gain unauthorized access to databases and can read, retrieve, or remove the records on the database.
SQL attacks are the most commonly deployed and can be executed to not only gain access to sensitive data but also to alter the database in such a way as to render a website useless.
3. Cross-Site Scripting Attacks
Cross-site scripting, also referred to as XSS, is a client-side code injection hacking technique. The aim of this attack is to execute malicious and harmful scripts into a web browser by injecting infected code into a legitimate-looking page.
Once attacked, the website will become infected, often without you knowing. Any interaction a user has with your website will be visible to the person behind the attack.
4. Malware Infections
From ransomware to spying codes, malware comes in all shapes and sizes and can do all sorts of nasty things, from compromising the integrity of your website to stealing the data of those who visit it.
It would be out of the scope of this post to outline a complete application security strategy for an eCommerce website but here’s the bare minimum you need to do.
Basic Ecommerce Website Security Tips
Here are some of the very basic eCommerce website security tips everyone in the business needs to know.
1. Use A Secure Web Host/Platform
The web host is where your website is located on the internet and the platform is the set of tools used to make the website. There are more of these available than we can count.
You need to select a combination of the two that offers optimum protection against the most common forms of attack like SQL injection and malware.
2. Get An SSL Certificate
This is, in fact, necessary if you accept online payments in any form. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard mandates you to have an SSL certificate for processing cards for payment.
SSL encrypts the data exchanged between your website and the web browser of the user. This prevents data from being read by anyone else on the internet while it’s in transit. This is one of the most important and effective measures against identity theft.
3. Use A Website Vulnerability Scanner
There could be a number of website security issues in your eCommerce setup that can go undetected. The best way to detect them in time is using a website vulnerability scanner. This is designed to scan your website for any weak points that may be exploited by people with bad intentions.
Knowing your website’s weaknesses is the first step to fixing them and that’s where a vulnerability scanner comes in handy.
To Sum Up
Security is one of the most important aspects of managing an eCommerce website, one that can not be neglected at any cost. Your reputation, users’ privacy and resources are at risk if your website’s security becomes compromised.
You need to use a secure hosting service/website development platform and keep scanning your website regularly to prevent any weakness in the website from escalating or being exploited.