Top 10 E-commerce Security Threats in 2023
Alongside the rapid growth in any field, there’s always an increase in threats, and e-commerce is no exception. The swift evolution of online business has drawn the attention of hackers, making it a lucrative target for intrusion.
In this article, you can explore the prevalent e-commerce security risks and the most effective strategies to fortify your e-commerce website against breaches.
Why Is E-commerce Security Important?
E-commerce enterprises are responsible for handling delicate customer information, which encompasses personal details, credit card particulars, and financial data. Any breach in security within an e-commerce site can result in the compromise of this sensitive information, thereby causing financial repercussions for both customers and the business.
Ensuring security in e-commerce websites is crucial for upholding the confidence and allegiance of customers. Should an online business experience a security breach, it risks eroding trust among customers, which can have detrimental effects on its reputation and credibility.
Furthermore, by law, e-commerce entities are obligated to safeguard their customers’ sensitive data. Failure to comply with data protection regulations can lead to severe legal ramifications and penalties.
Top 10 E-commerce Security Threats
Let’s find out the most common and severe online security attacks in the e-commerce industry, as well as the solution for each issue.
Threat 1: Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks ranked first among the top 10 e-commerce security threats, have evolved beyond generic spam emails. In 2023, they’ve become more personalized and deceptive. Spear phishing, a tactic on the rise, involves highly tailored attempts at stealing sensitive information. For instance, an online retailer might receive an email that appears to be from a trusted vendor or colleague, potentially compromising sensitive data.
Regular e-commerce security audits can uncover and fix vulnerabilities. Educating your staff about email authenticity verification, especially for requests involving sensitive information, is essential.
Threat 2: Ransomware Attacks
Malware - malicious programs hackers use to exploit, damage, disrupt, or get unauthorized access to your online website. Ransomware is a kind of malware that locks critical systems until a ransom is paid.
Install dedicated antivirus and anti-malware software. Combine this with other security measures like SSL certificates, HTTPS, secure servers, firewalls, and regular backups for maximum protection.
Threat 3: DDoS Attacks
Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are a significant concern among e-commerce security threats. These tactics involve overwhelming a website with an excessive volume of traffic or requests, often carried out by hackers using botnets (networks of malware-infected devices).
The consequences of DoS and DDoS attacks are severe. They frequently result in downtime, rendering the website inaccessible to customers and leading to revenue losses. Persistent disruptions can also tarnish the reputation of an e-commerce site, eroding trust and driving customers to alternative service providers. Furthermore, frustrated users may share negative experiences online, damaging the site’s image.
Utilize a DDoS protection service if you suspect your site is vulnerable to such attacks. These services proactively monitor incoming traffic, preemptively blocking potentially fraudulent requests.
Threat 4: Magecart Attacks
Magecart attacks are becoming more common and sophisticated. E-commerce stores can prevent Magecart attacks by applying security measures such as:
- Data encryption
- Website security scanning
- Employee training
- Regular software updates
Threat 5: Credential Stuffing
Credential stuffing is an emerging e-commerce security threat where attackers leverage stolen usernames and passwords to gain unauthorized access to various websites or services. This threat is on the rise due to the prevalence of reused passwords across multiple accounts and the development of more advanced bots capable of automating these attacks.
- Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)
- Use Google reCaptcha
- Check the IP Blacklist to avoid dangerous IP
- Rate-Limit CAPTCHANon-Residential Traffic Sources
- Block Headless Browsers
- Disallow Email Addresses as User IDs
Threat 6: API Vulnerabilities
API vulnerabilities pose another substantial risk in the field of e-commerce security. With an increasing volume of shopping taking place across diverse channels and devices, e-commerce businesses are adopting headless commerce solutions, relying heavily on APIs. This increased reliance makes APIs prime targets for cyberattacks, particularly considering that a significant portion of online store traffic comes from APIs, with a percentage of this traffic accessing endpoints containing sensitive data such as credentials and credit card information.
- Implement robust authentication and authorization
- Use rate limiting
- Encrypt data
- Perform regular security testing
Threat 7: Supply Chain Attacks
Supply chain attacks, where hackers infiltrate systems through a partner or provider with access to an organization’s networks and data, are becoming increasingly prevalent, particularly within e-commerce companies reliant on third-party services for various applications. An example includes attackers compromising a third-party payment processor to access an e-commerce site’s customer data.
- Assess open-source dependencies to avoid software supply chain attacks
- Scan GitHub repositories regularly for unwanted leaks of secrets
- Implement zero-trust policies
- Train your vendors carefully
- Expand your threat intelligence technology to third-party risks
- Explore blockchain and Hyperledger technologies
- Stay proactive in compliance with new regulations, frameworks, and standards
Threat 8: Insider Threats
Insider is another pressing concern in e-commerce security threats. These threats can stem from employees, former employees, contractors, business associates, or other individuals with access to critical data and IT systems, posing potential harm to the business.
- Keep credentials to your sensitive assets
- Increase accountability and oversight using session monitoring and recording
- Provide comprehensive user training
- Set privileged access to sensitive data
Threat 9: Third-Party Vulnerabilities
It is common for e-commerce businesses to cooperate with other third parties for better performance as well as workflow optimization. High-efficient tools like ready-made APIs, website components, Google analytics, and so on can improve your e-commerce website.
However, as e-commerce security issues are rising, when integrating third-party tools, you must stay alert to data safety and governance concerns. If your partner can’t guarantee safety, you might end up facing cyber attacks due to their vulnerabilities.
- Safeguard your e-commerce site by mapping the services it employs
- Understand who is collecting personally identifiable information (PII) and assess the associated risks
- Remediate issues directly with the vendor or discontinue their use
Threat 10: Zero-Day Exploits
The last issue in our top 10 e-commerce security threats should be zero-day exploits. These are security vulnerabilities unknown to software vendors or developers, which cybercriminals can exploit to gain unauthorized access to e-commerce websites, compromising sensitive data such as customer information and credit card details.
- Set up multiple-layer security
- Incident response services services that can swiftly address and mitigate the damage caused by these exploits.
- Get patch management capabilities
- Hold simulations and test
Tips to Enhance E-commerce Store Security
We have covered solutions for each of the threats mentioned above. Now, let’s delve deeper into practices for safeguarding your e-commerce business from security threats.
1. Password Management
- Avoid using overly simple passwords like “1234” or “abcd,” especially for back-end access and database entry. Instead, utilize complex passwords and change them regularly.
- Avoid using the same password for multiple services to mitigate vulnerability in case of a breach.
2. Database and Site Activity Monitoring
- Evaluate the potential for code manipulation through user-submitted files or forms, especially if code execution is possible.
- If you lack the expertise, consider hiring professionals to assess this aspect.
- Enable Google Webmaster Tools (Google Search Console) to detect abnormal site activity promptly.
3. Regular Software Updates
- Maintain up-to-date software, including your CMS and server-associated tools.
- Updates often integrate additional security measures and seal vulnerabilities.
- Use software that alerts you to potential software vulnerabilities and responds promptly to notifications.
4. Information Minimization
- Ensure that error messages and system responses do not divulge excessive information, including sensitive data like API keys.
- Share as little specific data as possible with users in all situations.
5. Security Plugin Installation
- Consider employing security plugins designed to thwart potential hackers.
- Numerous options are available, tailored to various needs, and compatible with specific CMS platforms.
- Research and review plugin reliability based on user feedback and ratings.
6. Regular Backups
- Perform routine website backups to facilitate quick recovery in case of issues.
- Backup frequency should align with update frequency; for instance, if updates are made every other day, create 15 backups monthly.
7. Prompt Flaw Remediation
- Address identified vulnerabilities swiftly, regardless of their perceived severity.
- Waiting for issues to manifest can expose your site to substantial problems. Seek expert assistance if necessary.
8. Firewall Implementation
- Utilize a firewall, either hardware or software-based, to filter and monitor network traffic.
- Proxies can serve as intermediaries between buyers and your online store, enhancing security.
9. Multi-Layer Security
- Employ a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to counter DDoS threats and filter incoming malicious traffic.
- Consider implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for an additional layer of security, enhancing user identity verification.
- These practices collectively strengthen your e-commerce site’s security and foster trust among visitors, assuring them that their sensitive information is safeguarded. Remember that expert guidance and tailor-made actions can offer an extra layer of protection against evolving threats.
10. SSL Certificate Installation
- Install an SSL certificate to enable secure connections (HTTPS).
- The padlock symbol and “https” reassure visitors that their data is protected during transactions.
- Google and other search engines penalize sites lacking HTTPS.
11. Universal HTTPS Adoption
- Implement HTTPS across your entire website, as it’s crucial for security and search engine rankings.
- HTTPS guarantees secure data transmission and encryption, preventing third-party access to sensitive information.
- Activate HTTP with an SSL certificate for added protection.
12. Security Testing Tools
- Employ security testing tools to assess your site’s security level and receive improvement recommendations.
- Regular security scans should be performed, especially after significant site changes.
13. Consult Cybersecurity Specialists
- While security tools are valuable, they aren’t infallible, and expert input is invaluable.
- Consider engaging firms or professionals with cybersecurity expertise to assess and bolster your security.
14. Payment Method Selection
- Offer diverse payment options to meet customer preferences.
- Ensure that your payment methods align with industry standards and security best practices.
- Customers’ trust can be eroded if their personal data is compromised.
15. Address Verification System (AVS)
Use AVS to enhance credit card processing security. It matches customer billing addresses with credit card issuer records, blocking suspicious transactions with mismatched information.
Although the tactics of cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, there are still ways to counteract the situation. However, preventing is always better than solving a problem. So, try to secure your business before it gets attacked by hackers with the above tips.
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