Cyber Security Threats For eCommerce Businesses
Blog / Cyber Security Threats For eCommerce Businesses
Over the last few years, and especially in light of the worldwide effects of the pandemic, e-commerce has cemented itself at the core of the retail framework.
Even before the impact of lockdowns and restrictions on in-person shopping, online stores were thriving and on the rise. However, as demonstrated by the downfall of countless small businesses and even High street shops during the COVID-19 pandemic, not having an online presence as retail business in 2021 is extremely damaging.
Taking a business online can have a multitude of perks, such as reaching new customers from around the world, third-party handling of online transactions and even the increased autonomy of a business which can run by itself.
However, the shift to e-commerce does not come without its own cybersecurity risks, and it is imperative that any business with an online presence takes the right steps to monitor and protect against these threats.
Cyber Threats and how they can affect an online business
- Denial of Service Attacks
A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is perhaps the most common threat to any ecommerce business.
The brute force of the number of requests is enough to slow down an entire site, and usually results in the site being altogether taken offline.
This can impact an ecommerce business massively, not least as a website which is running slowly and not responding to user commands is unlikely to retain a customer’s attention to the point of purchase, but if the site is offline, business stops.
- Social Engineering Attacks
Social engineering scams rely on the ability of a hacker to manipulate a victim into producing a cyber security vulnerability via human error.
This can include fake emails, adverts or texts which prompt clicks, downloads or the entering of credentials.
Once the victim interacts with a phishing or spear phishing construct, the malicious third party will be granted access to personal information or login credentials that can be used for fraud.
Usually combined with a phishing scam will be a ransomware or malware attack. The victim will inadvertently download a virus, worm, rootkit or ransomware. These are all malicious programs designed to alter, damage or hold ransom company assets online.
A ransomware attack can be employed by hackers to seize ecommerce data stored online, then hold it hostage until a ransom is paid.
Other pieces of malware can be used by hackers to spy on eCommerce businesses, and also to gain access to customer data or financial records. Hackers accessing sensitive data can is extremely damaging not only financially but to company integrity also.
How to stay safe
The best measures to take when considering a cyber attack are preventative measures as opposed to measures to try and act after an attack has already taken place and potential assets seized. Here are a few examples of steps that can be taken to protect any online retail business:
- Monitoring traffic and Antivirus
It is imperative that systems employ the latest up to date Antivirus and Antimalware software. The older software is, the higher the chance the hackers have had a chance to study it and tailor their cyber attacks to poach on new vulnerabilities.
Traffic and web filtering services should be put into place to monitor where traffic is coming from, and to identify any denial-of-service attacks before they get the chance to take a site offline.
- Back Up Data
Any organization which holds sensitive information online should back this up regularly. In doing so, this helps to mitigate the potential threat of a ransomware attack in which the hacker is holding data hostage – if it can be backed up there is no need to pay ransom.
- Effective training
All employees should be thoroughly trained as to how to work safely online, and policies put into place to ensure that rules are followed when surfing the web or simply accessing work emails. This mitigates an array of vulnerabilities that can be caused by human error.
- Information Security Services
Perhaps the best way to stay on top of the daunting possibility of cyber attacks which could damage an ecommerce organisation is the employment of information security services.
Online programs can monitor incoming traffic, provide testing of the organization’s network security, application security, DNS Health as well as brand and IP reputation tests and even exposure testing which pertains to any data breaches or leaks.
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