E-commerce websites experienced unprecedented growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that shows no signs of slowing down. That growth, however, also comes with new (and numerous) security threats.
For example, in 2021 alone, companies as large as Bonobos, Kroger, and Volkswagen all experienced data breaches. If you’re part of the e-commerce industry, it’s important to be aware of the threats that your business faces and the best practices to protect yourself and your customers from cyber-attacks.
Common Security Vulnerabilities in E-commerce
Cyber attackers will try innumerable tricks and tactics to identify vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure, and devise more such tactics every day. That said, compliance officers can start with the following list of common security vulnerabilities that you may face:
Phishing and Malware
Phishing scams remain popular with hackers despite companies’ educational and awareness efforts. In this method, a hacker sends an email to an employee, often posing as a colleague and trying to persuade the employee to click on a malicious link or reveal sensitive information like passwords or credit card numbers.
Phishing is a common technique for installing malware on a device; once an employee has clicked the link, the malware can infect your system and begin accessing your sensitive data.
Bots can make your life easier by automating simple tasks, but they can make hackers’ jobs easier too. Cybercriminals increasingly use bots to harvest data, engage in price scraping, or perform other malicious actions that could harm your security and your business.
Such attacks include distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, where bots are deployed to overwhelm your site’s capacity with traffic, allowing hackers to access your site while your focus is elsewhere. Bots are also frequently used in brute force attacks, where algorithms methodically guess every possible password until they find the one that finally succeeds.
Cross-Site Scripting and SQL Injections
Both SQL injections and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS attacks) seek to exploit existing vulnerabilities in your site with an injection of malicious code. SQL injection occurs when hackers use a site’s entry forms (such as email or password fields) to inject malicious code into your online store.
This code is then used to access and manipulate sensitive databases with information like phone numbers and credit card information. Cross-Site Scripting works in a similar way but targets web applications rather than website forms.
Resolving E-Commerce Security Issues
In the face of these threats, it’s important to perform due diligence and protect your company (and your customers’ information) to the best of your ability. The following techniques can help you improve your website security and mitigate losses that may occur.
Basic security measures can go a long way toward protecting your company from cyberattacks. All accounts should be secured with strong, unique passwords that are changed frequently. Multi-factor authentication is another popular way of adding another layer of security to your accounts. You can also arrange to receive notifications every time your system is accessed from an unknown IP address, which can alert you to potential breaches.
There are a number of software solutions and defenses you can implement to prevent security issues. Hosting your site on an e-commerce platform is often helpful, since the security is included by the server and the risk is therefore shared.
Firewalls and anti-virus software can help keep malicious actors away from your network, and SSL certificates will allow you to encrypt sensitive data in motion. These methods are increasingly necessary and are usually seen by experts as requirements rather than recommendations.
Your staff are your first line of defense against security breaches. They engage with your network and systems every day and will be the first to notice when something is amiss. By educating your employees on the signs of a cybersecurity breach you’ll be more likely to catch malicious activity before it can do too much damage.
Protect Your E-Commerce Business from Vulnerabilities with ZenGRC
Protecting your e-commerce company from security breaches can be one of the most challenging aspects of your business journey. Staying on top of your company’s risk landscape is difficult, and will only become more difficult as your company grows and expands. To protect customer data, you’ll need a solution that can give you a full view of your company’s risk management efforts.
ZenGRC is an integrated software that tracks risk and compliance throughout your entire organization in real-time. It provides you with a single source of truth; one database with all of your identified risks and assignments at your fingertips. Schedule a demo today and learn how ZenGRC can help you protect your e-commerce business from security risks.