Ecommerce has transformed the way business is done in today’s digital era. India is the fastest growing ecommerce market and it is expected to grow to US$ 200 billion by 2026 (Source- Morgan Stanley Report). Much of the growth for the industry has been triggered by an increase in internet and smartphone penetration. But is it safe to shop online?
In February 2020, the world’s biggest retailer, Amazon, fended off the largest distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack in history.
Ecommerce Security Threat: A Challenge to Digitization
Ecommerce players have a constant threat of competition, but that’s not the only threat that they face. There’s also threat of cyber-attacks. As the volume of online sales has risen, so has the volume of cyber-attacks targeting online retailers.
Why? Because, to digitize, one needs access to customers’ data i.e. personal as well as financial. Ecommerce players are vulnerable to cyber-attacks as they store customers’ sensitive data such as bank account details, credit card information, email address, mailing address etc. Cybercriminals launch attacks to get access to this information for financial gains.
Also Read: Security measures to be practiced while making digital payments
With unique opportunities come unique vulnerabilities
In the days when people used to shop from a retail store, cyber-threats were just primitive practices like causing breaches in POS – point of sales – systems in a bid to steal personal information from credit card owners. But with the advent of ecommerce, the threat landscape has increased substantially. Here are some of the most common cyber threats for ecommerce players and their customers…
- DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service): A DDoS attack is intended to take down your website by overwhelming your servers with requests. Such attack overloads your servers, slows them down significantly, or temporarily takes them offline, preventing your customers from accessing your website and completing orders.
- Phishing: It is a very frequent attack on the Ecommerce users that is delivered via innocent looking emails to trick users to give away their personal data, login information, and other sensitive data. Ecommerce industry is one of the major victims of phishing attacks.
- Malware: In Ecommerce, malware is used to gain access to information relating to various customers, as well as confidential details about the business itself.
- Ransomware: It is one of the biggest cyber-disasters. It’s a specific type of malware locking the portal/device from its user. The user is blackmailed until the ransom is paid.
- E-skimming: Aka Magecart, it is a cybersecurity hacking technique that steals information as the consumer puts it into an online shopping website. It steals credit card information or payment card data from website visitors.
- Credit/Debit Card Fraud: There are several ways of card frauds that can hamper transactions in an ecommerce business such as assumed identity, card theft, application fraud, expired validity card etc.
- SQL Injection: These attacks involve hackers trying to gain access to your ecommerce site by injecting malicious SQL commands into existing scripts that your site needs to operate. Once successful, this changes how your site reads key data and allows the hacker to execute certain commands on your site or shut it down at will.
- Cross-site Scripting (XSS): It involves inserting a piece of malicious code into a webpage. This doesn’t impact the site itself, but it would impact the users (i.e. shoppers), exposing them to malware, phishing attempts, and more.
- Identify Theft and Refund Fraud: Identity theft is one of the ongoing ecommerce fraudulent activities that indicate the online transaction made by another identity with false name using some others credit card’s data. Whereas refund fraud refers to the act of returning customer products to a retailer for a refund, in violation of the merchant’s stated return policy. The fraudsters gain access to the eCommerce website and merchants accounts, send the refund request, then transfer those funds to their account.
- Man in The Middle (MITM): An attack where the attacker places himself between two devices (a web browser and a web server) and intercept the communication.
Trust is the most valuable currency
While ecommerce players are focusing on providing several personalized experiences and a comfortable shopping environment to their customers, they also need to focus on cybersecurity. It is highly important that the customers have the confidence to share their personal and financial information.
Best Practices to Combat the Security Threats in Ecommerce
- Add HTTPS and SSL certificates
- Use anti-malware and anti-virus software
- Secure your payment gateway
- Use data encryption
- Implement a firewall
- Conduct a Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT)
- Maintain PCI (Payment Card Industry) Compliance
- Educate your customers about security
- Use Content Delivery Network (CDN) to add another layer of security
- Back up data periodically
Wrapping up: To shop or not to shop?
Ecommerce is one of the best ways to expand your business. However, if your customers are in two minds on whether to shop or not to shop on your portal, then it’s a major roadblock to your expansion plans.
Hackers are getting better at their games, which means that investment in security is a must-have in order to protect your business and your customers.
Do you need help in beefing up your cybersecurity? Our team of experts will be glad to assist you. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org