$400 Billion is the approximate global cost of cyber attack losses that has been suffered by businesses in 2015. By 2019 this amount is expected to reach a staggering $2.1 Trillion!
According to CyberEdge Group 2016 report, the rate of cyber attacks is also increasing on a yearly basis.
eCommerce stores and Internet dependent businesses can no longer ignore the need for tight website security.
Here is a gist of how cyber attacks happen and what your eCommerce store can do to keep it from harm’s way.
Common Forms of Cyber Attacks Across the Globe
Crimeware are dangerous software that makes infected systems to behave in certain ways that causes serious losses to the owner.
WEB APP ATTACKS
SQL injection and cross-site scripting attacks which disrupts the input and output of the web applications thus causing it to fail frequently.
Distributed Denial of Service is a mode of attack where the targeted store server is flooded with requests from multiple systems. The server will crash under the peak traffic thus giving an opportune moment for the hacker to enter the system.
Creation of fake credentials of customers or stealing of personal information for the purpose of carrying out unauthorized transactions.
Disgruntled employees, corrupt officials and similar insiders who share sensitive information to outsiders for personal benefits.
Insecure POS systems at shop-levels that are connected to the main system are intercepted and hijacked for gaining entry into the online server architecture.
Common Types of Cyber Attacks Exclusive to eCommerce Stores
- Backdoor Entries
Hackers resort to gaining access to sensitive parts of the website through vulnerable areas like WP-Admin, FTP, SFTP, etc.
- Drive-by Downloads
Embedded malware which gets into the system through downloaded programs or files. Usually gets in through outdated software, obsolete security patches, leaked password credentials, etc.
- Pharma Hacks
A pharma hack is an attack that specifically targets Joomla and WordPress documents. It is commonly known as pharma ads since the bot redirects the actual web page to a pharma ad thus causing search engines to either block or blacklist the web page entirely.
- Malicious Redirects
Hackers work either to steal information from your website or to redirect your organic traffic to malicious websites where phishing activity is carried out. Example of a malicious redirect is as below:
In a malicious redirect, the redirected page might seem to be identical to the original website or its graphical elements. However, it will be embedded with malicious codes that will either steal user’s sensitive information like personal data, credit card information, medical data, etc.
Tactics to Combat Cyber Attacks
Set High Password Standards
Setting strong passwords that are difficult to guess is the first line of defense against cyber attacks. Further, if users can be taught to change their passwords on a regular basis it will further strengthen the password security. Training employees to exercise password hygiene is far cheaper than buying a high-end firewall.
Opt for SSL Encryption
SSL encryption has come to the forefront as the advanced form of web security. It ensures that websites are able to transact with their visitors in private sessions that cannot be intercepted by unauthorized personnel.
The data encryption ensures that no data is completely available for access through eavesdropping, hacking or infiltration. Only a secured web browser and server can connect and exchange the data.
Why is SSL certificate important?
Google has been stressing for more than 2 years that it is considering web security as a serious rank signal for page ranking. Websites which are not secured by SSL will be indicated by a ‘not secure’. This might possibly deter visitors, especially customers to an online store.
Kia is a noted automobile brand with international presence. Even their website was flagged off by Google as unsafe for lack of SSL encryption.
Having a SSL certificate and displaying the trust badge on the website will increase the online store’s conversion rates. It is like winning two things at the cost of one – Security + More conversions.
Update Security Patches
A vast majority of the online stores run on eCommerce platforms like Magento, Drupal, Zencart, Volusion, etc. These eCommerce platform vendors constantly scan their platform for security vulnerabilities and update the code to plug them.
The security vulnerabilities are plugged using security patches which can be downloaded to user machines over the Internet. Failing to update the security patches creates the risk of running on outdated and hack-prone platform.
Thus, a better way to ensure eCommerce security is by updating the said security patches on a regular basis as and when they are released by the platform vendors.
Store Sensitive Information Offline
Popular online stores Home Depot, eBay, Target, etc. have burnt their fingers by losing data to online hacks. They made the mistake of storing sensitive customer information like credit card numbers, address, bank account numbers, identity documents, etc. in online servers.
Lay Down BYOD Protocol
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a work philosophy that has gained prominence in the recent years. A research by Ovum concluded that more than 75% of businesses now allow employees to bring their own devices for performing tasks at work. Unfortunately, along with its plethora of benefits, it also brings along a series of website security threats.
Owned devices used by employees are not always foolproof against cyber attacks. They are easy to be infected with malicious software that can leak private information to hacker servers.
The need of the hour is a strong BYOD security policy. Here are some measures worth including in your BYOD security policy.
- Require every employee owned-device to be registered and connected to the official registry
- Update employee systems (hardware & software) to latest versions
- Authenticate all devices for website & eCommerce security using SSL encryption before permitting network access
Bringing It All Together
Web security is a matter of high priority for online stores. Their entire existence, future business and customer trust is all pillared on eCommerce security. Secure your online store with the above discussed website security measures and tactics.