E-commerce Security: Importance, Issues and Protection Measures

E-commerce Security: Importance, Issues and Protection Measures

The State of E-Commerce

Have you ever wondered how big e-commerce is? The e-commerce market is a lucrative market with great potential. I’ve recently read an Intelligent Insider report on e-commerce, and I was impressed at how big e-commerce has become. The report projects the total e-commerce market to reach $5.7 trillion in 2022.

The growth of e-commerce is mainly fuelled by the increased reliance on online shopping, especially during and after the pandemic. You’ll be thrilled to learn that only 17.8% of sales were made from online shopping two years ago. The growth of e-commerce is expected to continue, reaching up to 25% by 2025.

Investing in e-commerce would be an excellent idea because it’s so lucrative and enticing. It would be best if you started thinking about an online presence alongside having a brick-and-mortar store. Set up your international omnichannel strategy and propel your business to success.

E-commerce security and the need for secure electronic transactions

No investment or project comes without its share of challenges. One of the biggest challenges you’ll have to deal with in e-commerce is the issue of e-commerce security. Your e-commerce store is a hot target for cyber attacks, regardless of the niche you deal with. 

Hackers value troves of personal and financial information. They’ll lay down  sophisticated traps to compromise your business site, tamper with your customers’ online experience, and exploit your clients to the core. E-commerce security threats have shown no signs of decreasing. We can only anticipate an increase rather than a decrease in threats. According to projections published by Statista, e-commerce losses to online fraud stood at 41 billion U.S. dollars globally in 2022, and the figure is expected to grow to 48 billion U.S. dollars by 2023.

Whereas there’s no universal definition of e-commerce security, we could look at it as the guideline that’s put in place to ensure secure electronic transactions on the Internet. It entails, among other things, e-commerce security protocols that safeguard people engaging in the buying and selling of goods online. A robust e-commerce security strategy will gain your customer’s trust by addressing the following aspects:

  • Privacy

Privacy prevents malicious activities that might lead to sharing of sensitive customer data with unauthorized third parties. In other words, apart from the original seller, no other party should access data given by the customer. In any case, a seller allows others to access that data without the owners’ consent, which amounts to a breach of confidentiality.

  • Data integrity

Data integrity is an aspect of online security that ensures unadulterated data. The concept of data integrity requires data to remain as original as possible. No edits, modifications, changes, or tampering should be made to the original data. Any modifications made to data will cause the customers to lose confidence in the security and integrity of the e-commerce store.

  • Non-repudiation

Non-repudiation is another crucial principle of data/e-commerce security. In legal terms, non-repudiation means not denying. In other words, non-reputation prevents players from denying their actions in a transaction. For instance, a party in a transaction cannot deny a signature, email, or purchase they initiated.

  • Authentication

Authentication is an online security principle requiring both parties to be authentic. In other words, all parties must be what they say to be. The business should provide enough proof that it’s genuine, deals in genuine goods, and fulfills all its promises. Customers must also provide evidence of their identity through client login information and credit card PINs.

Common e-commerce security threats and issues

Businesses running e-commerce transactions are prone to lots of security issues and threats. Knowing these threats will help you formulate a more robust defense strategy. Here are some of the common threats your e-commerce store is likely to face:

  1. Malware, viruses, and online fraud

Malware is so rampant these days. The number of malware attacks hit 2.8 billion during the first half of 2022. These threats cause severe damage to their victims.

Hackers leverage various forms of malware, such as Trojans, viruses, bots, worms, and other malicious programs to perform all sorts of harm to unsuspecting victims. Malware attacks may do the following:

  • Hijack the entire e-commerce network;
  • Erase all data on the network;
  • Block legitimate system users from accessing data;
  • Forward malicious links to other venues within the same network.
  1. Financial frauds

Financial frauds have been around since the dawn of e-commerce, afflicting e-commerce stores with all sorts of harm. Attackers will perform unauthorized transactions and wipe out the trail. In the end, the e-commerce store ends up suffering and incurring a significant amount of money to repair such attacks.

  1. Spam

Email communications are the most popular and reliable communication channel in e-commerce, but they also remain one of the most used channels for spamming. Hackers will use other mediums, such as contact forms on blog comment sections, to spread malicious links to harm your store. Spamming will compromise your customers’ data, tarnish your site’s reputation and slow down your page loading speeds.

  1. Phishing

Social engineering attacks, especially phishing, are among the most common forms of aggression in e-commerce. With phishing, hackers masquerade as legitimate e-commerce owners and send emails to website visitors to trick them into downloading an attachment, clicking on a link, or sharing their sensitive financial information.

  1. DDoS attacks

Hackers also use distributed denial of service attacks to bring e-commerce stores to their knees. DDoS attacks aim to destroy your network and compromise all other devices and nearby networks. Attackers using DDoS attacks will flood your e-commerce website servers with numerous requests until your e-commerce site crushes.

  1. Brute force attacks

Brute force attacks target the admin panel of your e-commerce store. They’ll try to use different user names and password combinations to guess their way into users’ accounts.

Measures to secure your e-commerce site from data security threats

The security threats explained above come with some devastating repercussions. It’s alarming that the current cost of a successful data breach now stands at USD 4.35 million. E-commerce store owners should try as much as possible to evade these attacks. Remember, you’re not just here to sell and go; you also need to consider other factors, such as ensuring the security of your e-commerce store. Here are some of the proven e-commerce security measures you should take to boost the security of your e-commerce store.

  1. Switch to HTTPS

The first crucial step you should take to boost the security of the e-commerce store is to perform the HTTP to HTTPS migration. You’ll need to buy SSL certificate to initiate the migration.

Using an outdated HTTP protocol opens your e-commerce website to attacks. With the HTTP protocol, all data transfers between your e-commerce site’s servers and customers’ browsers are in plaintext. Anyone with the technical know-how and the right skills can access, read, and modify this data. Imagine what this could do to data integrity.

The case is different with HTTPS protocols. HTTPS initiates encrypted sessions. With encryption, plaintext data is converted to the undecipherable ciphertext format. It’ll take ages for a computer to decrypt such data. And all it takes to initiate encrypted HTTPS communications is an SSL certificate. You should consider purchasing one for the sake of your site’s security. Buying an SSL certificate is also a perfect digital marketing strategy. Search engines like Google use this factor when ranking web results in the SERPs.

  1. Choose a reliable web hosting provider

The web hosting company you choose for your e-commerce store speaks volumes about your site security. The web host will ensure your servers’ physical and digital security. When selecting a web hosting provider, you must consider several security aspects. They include the following:

  • Does the hosting provider offer backups and easy rebuilds?
  • Does the provider ensure hardware protection?
  • What measures has the provider taken to prevent DDoS attacks?
  • How secure is the web hosting provider?
  • Does the provider offer the SSL certificate package?

Such are the aspects you should consider to ensure you work with the best web hosting provider regarding cybersecurity.

  1. Server and admin panel security

Most e-commerce platforms have default passwords. These passwords are too easy to guess. Not changing these passwords exposes your account to brute force and other password attacks.

Moreover, it’d be best to adopt the best password practices when creating passwords for your server and admin panels. For instance, you should make your passwords as complex and unique as possible. You can go further with admin panel security by making it notify you whenever an unknown IP address attempts to log into your account.

  1. Two-step authentication

Other than using passwords alone, you can boost the security of your authentication fronts by employing multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication is where other than using passwords alone, a second authentication factor is also used. The second authentication factor could be a secret code, a one-time password, or a biometric factor such as fingerprints.

The good thing with two-factor authentication is that even when an attacker succeeds in infiltrating your passwords, they’ll still not bypass your authentication lines since they’ll lack the second authentication factor.

  1. Payment gateway security

Let’s face it: although storing your credit card numbers on your database makes it easy to process payments, it’s a liability, and I won’t recommend this mode of doing things. If you fall victim to a data breach and attackers succeed in getting hold of your credit card information, all you can do is say goodbye to your business. 

The best strategy to avoid this is never to store your credit card information in your database. You should also ensure the utmost security to your payment gateways. I highly recommend using third-party payment processing systems such as PayPal and Skrill to evade all the troubles that come with processing payments on your platform. You should also use the best VPN on the market to secure your internet connection and avoid phishing.

  1. Employ antimalware software 

Antimalware software and scanners can help detect and stop malware infiltrations and infections on your e-commerce website. The software comes with sophisticated algorithms that flag all malicious transactions. They also provide a fraud risk score that can help proprietors to determine the legitimacy of transactions.

  1. Use firewalls

Using firewalls is another effective e-commerce recommendation you should adopt for your e-commerce store. Firewalls prevent malicious traffic from getting to your servers. Firewalls offer selective permeability and only allow trusted and safe traffic to reach your e-сommerce servers. Firewalls will protect your site from threats like SQL injections and cross-site scripting.

Conclusion 

E-commerce is a lucrative spot to venture in as it introduces your business to global and international markets. But you need to be keen on the aspect of cybersecurity since cyber attackers are constantly targeting e-commerce stores. This article has explored some of the top security issues in e-commerce security and provided some practical tips to protect your website from threats. Ensure you use multiple security walls and back up your data just in case these measures fail.

Volha Belakurskaja

Volha Belakurskaja

Volha is an experienced copywriter with 10+ years experience writing for the information technology and services industry and a 5+ years sole proprietorship background. Passionate about all things tech, she is especially interested in topics lying at the confluence of business and technology.

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