Home Insights & Advice The importance of site security within eCommerce

The importance of site security within eCommerce

by John Saunders
8th Jun 21 6:03 pm

Having an eCommerce presence is essential for any business looking to succeed within the modern world. Practically every industry is leveraging eCommerce to drive greater levels of performance, bringing in more traffic and converting customers.

But with all the customer information and transactions being handled, protecting that data and your wider business from harmful attacks is crucial. eCommerce merchants need to make use of protocols designed to safeguard these areas to instil trust within their customer base.

Wherever there’s money changing hands, you’ll likely find opportunists looking to exploit those transactions for their own gain – even within the digital sphere. We’ve highlighted the potential security threats and what you can do for your site security to counteract them below.

Why is site security so important?

There are a wide range of threats which eCommerce sites can come under attack from, each with a similar goal – to exploit weaknesses in security for gain.

This could be stealing information about customers which can be used to hack their other accounts, or performing financial fraud in order to make unauthorised transactions and steal significant sums of money. Other forms of attack could include:

  • Spam –leaving dodgy links within your reviews or comments for unsuspecting users.
  • Phishing – spoofing legitimate emails from your business with aggressive CTAs attached to dodgy links where details can be harvested.
  • Bots – specially designed bots can scrape sensitive data from your site, such as pricing and inventory, which can then be used to purchase all stock of popular items such as the recent PlayStation console shortage.
  • DDoS Attacks – known as Distributed Denial of Service attacks, this creates a mass influx of fake traffic to cause your website to crash and render it useless.
  • Brute Force Attacks – the admin capabilities of your site could be specifically targeted by hackers trying every possible combination for admin credentials.
  • SQL Injections – this attack targets your query submission form database. Injecting malicious code into it, it collects the relevant data and then removes the code to avoid detection.
  • Trojan Horses – if a customer or admin’s computer is unknowingly affected by a Trojan Horse, this can swipe data when your site is being used.

Any of these methods could be used individually or as part of a more sophisticated attack that utilises multiple methods. Either way, you need to take steps to protect your site against these forms of attack where possible.

Speaking to Doug Radburn, Head of Development at Pinpoint, he outlined the forms of data which can be exploited in an attack if protective measures aren’t implemented:

“The amount of personal data that’s stored and processed by eCommerce stores is often higher than a lot of other websites. For example, with lead generation, you might gather people’s names, phone numbers and email addresses.

Whereas for eCommerce you’re likely to collect more information such as card details and billing addresses which means you can really impact people’s lives on the fraud side of things. Customers put a lot of trust in eCommerce providers to keep their data safe.”

In 2020 alone, 376.5 million British pounds were stolen as a result of “card-not present” fraud – this figure was only around 28 million British pounds back in 2002. This shows the rate the problem has grown for UK-based businesses and customers in just under 20 years.

How to keep on top of your security

Luckily, although there are many forms of attacks which your eCommerce site could be faced with, there are also a range of protective measures you can take.

Ensuring your site’s security is up-to-date and regularly reviewed can help to secure any potential weak points and prevent hackers from getting into areas where they shouldn’t. Your eCommerce site should aim to make use of as many of these measures as possible:

  • Use proper payment gateway security so transactions are protected
  • Implement antivirus and anti-malware software for your business
  • Use a reputable and secure eCommerce platform
  • Use HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) to show your site is authentic and secure
  • Implement Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates to allow for encryption when connecting customers to your site
  • Educate customers and employees on the possible risks, ensuring that proper password strength is used and password hygiene is adhered to

By raising awareness of the potential threats and putting the right security measures in place, your eCommerce store will have all the necessary protection to mitigate security threats. All this can be made easier by building your site using an eCommerce platform which is trustworthy and supports all the relevant features you need.

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