News reports bombard nervous merchants daily with fresh stories about online attacks, data breaches, and credit card fraud. The current global pandemic only serves to escalate the volume of online attacks on businesses. Cloudflare confirmed that hacking and phishing attacks have increased by 37% month to month since the pandemic began. Risk Based Security’s 2020 Q3 Report Data Breach QuickView 2020 confirmed that 2020 was already the “worst year on record” by the end of the second quarter when considering the total number of records exposed. The close of the third quarter of the year saw an additional 8.3 billion exposed records, bringing the total number of records exposed by the end of September to an eye-watering 36 billion.
With the volume and scope of online attacks increasing daily, it’s imperative for merchants to secure their eCommerce solutions. Without proper security measures in place, merchants expose their businesses to a plethora of threats, including data breaches, monetary theft, operational disruption, intellectual property theft, exposed personal and financial information, and finally, permanent damage to reputation and customer trust. To safeguard your store, address a few key areas in order to give yourself the peace of mind that you’ve done all within your power to fortify your online business. Let’s look at some examples of best practice when it comes to creating and implementing a security strategy for your eCommerce solution.
A relatively simple upgrade that makes a world of difference to the security of your website is ensuring the identity of your customers and your employees. It’s as simple as utilizing any number of authentication tools available on your website; but you still need to create rules that demand strong passwords. While this may seem like a no brainer, passwords such as “admin123,” “susan89,” and “password” continue to create problems for businesses. A hacker only needs one weak password in order to break into your system. Therefore, create solid password requirements for your customers AND for your employees. As an extra precaution, consider implementing software that assesses your customer risk profile, like Signifyd, which offers fraud detection for eCommerce companies.
Install Web Application Firewalls (WAF)
Hackers can utilize any number of ways to try and breach your web applications. A prevalent method is SQL injection attacks, which hackers use to glean information from your databases. Hackers use cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks to take over accounts, alter your website’s content, or re-direct customers to malicious websites. Regardless of the manner of attack, the results can be catastrophic for you and your customers. Web application firewalls reduce the risk of attacks by securing the sensitive data in your systems. Ensuring the security and privacy of your customers’ personally identifiable information (PII) is paramount for any business. A WAF does just that by overseeing and protecting all incoming and outgoing traffic to your website.
Exercise Platform and Security Hardening
Security isn’t just installing a state-of-the-art lock on the front door of your business while you leave your old, warped wooden window hanging by a single nail. This analogy perfectly illustrates why you need to initiative consistent platform hardening, a process that reduces your vulnerability to attacks. It’s common for online stores to contain dormant software or processors because it’s often easier to leave them be, rather than uninstalling them or removing code. However, if one of these latent softwares developed a weakness, you will need to fix the issue so that hackers cannot use it to their advantage. In order to avoid wasting time and resources (and valuable space in your systems), remove all dormant programs, software, and systems that could potentially pose a threat to your business. Commit to a regular evaluation of all of your systems going forward, and ensure everything is up to date, and absolutely necessary to your online business.
In addition to your platform hardening endeavor, implement security hardening guidelines in order to outline and guide best practice. A few widely used applications already offer hardening manuals that your employees may use, such as this guide from the Center for Internet Security. You may want to implement supplementary high-level guidelines for matters such as extracting default configurations, batching, session timeouts, and more. This guarantees that all your employees are knowledgeable and up-to-date on your security measures.
Arm Yourself with Encryption
The immense volume of data traveling through the air calls for a healthy dosage of encryption. You want to ensure that the information you are sending will end up with the right recipient, and will not be seen by anyone else. A commonly used model to assess the information security of a business is the CIA (confidentiality, integrity, and availability) triad. Confidentiality covers encryption, an easy to way to ensure that even the most trivial bit of data remains safe from prying eyes.
Implement Risk Assessment
In the wake of increasing online attacks, businesses must enforce routine risk assessment. An established recurring risk assessment will provide you with an accurate oversight of your security risks. From there, you can gauge the potential consequences of individual risks that exist in your system. This way, you can identify and focus on your most urgent threats, and gain a well-rounded overview of your current security situation. Regular risk assessment will create awareness of security issues in your business, help you stay ahead of the latest vulnerabilities, and ultimately, show your customers that you prioritize their online safety.
Safeguard Your Customers and Your Business
Ensuring the safety of your customers’ data as they shop with you should be your number one priority. After all, without the trust of your customers, there won’t be much business to protect. Implementing data encryption, establishing strong requirements for identification, securing your systems against attacks, and regularly assessing your security measures are just a handful of ways that you as a business owner can help protect your eCommerce solution and your customers.
At Lokte, we want to help you ensure that your security setup matches the needs of your business. We work with all eCommerce platforms across diverse industries to bolster their online protection and provide an overview into their security situation. Our Data Breach Monitoring tool detects major breaches, such as Magecart attacks, supply-chain attacks, form-jacking, and skimming, as they occur. We identify hazards by monitoring user journeys on your site that compare outgoing server addresses to whitelisted addresses. Our tool alerts on any new, suspicious calls immediately, and we then take appropriate action before a potential breach can affect your business. Learn more about our Data Breach Monitoring tool here!