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10 Simple Account Security Tips Every Merchant Should Know

A laptop with colorful lights on it is shown in a dark room, highlighting the vibrant display and illuminating the surrounding atmosphere.

If you lock your door and then double-check it before leaving home, you’re already aware of the importance of security.

That’s why we think you’ll appreciate the tips we’re about to share. Keep reading if you’re interested in learning how to maintain good cybersecurity hygiene for your business.

What is a cyberattack?

Ecommerce fraud/malicious attacks are any deliberate deceptions made to an online store with the aim of financial, data, or personal gain on the part of the cybercriminals or fraudsters.

An account can become compromised due to a cyberattack in several ways, including phishing attacks, malware infections, weak passwords, and social engineering tactics. Once an account has been compromised, it can be difficult to regain control and prevent further damage, so it’s essential to take steps to prevent account compromise in the first place.

Six common types of cyberattacks

  1. Account-takeovers (ATOs/compromised accounts): A compromised account is an account that has been accessed or taken over by an unauthorized user, typically through a security breach or other form of cyberattack. When an account is compromised, the attacker may access sensitive information, such as personal data, financial information, or login credentials, and use it for malicious purposes, such as identity theft or fraud.
  2. Distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) involve overwhelming a website’s servers with traffic to take the site offline or disrupt its operations.
  3. Cross-site scripting XSS attacks involve injecting malicious code, such as JavaScript, into a website’s pages to steal customer information or redirect users to a malicious site.
  4. Mage cart attacks involve injecting malicious code, such as JavaScript, into a website’s checkout page to steal customer payment card details.
  5. Phishing, vishing, and smishing: These involve sending fraudulent emails, text messages, and, in some cases, phone calls that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or ecommerce store, in an attempt to trick users into revealing sensitive information or clicking on a malicious link.
  6. SQL injection attacks involve exploiting vulnerabilities in a website’s database (in this case, the merchant admin) to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information, such as customer payment card details.

What is cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity protects computer systems, business accounts, networks, and sensitive information from unauthorized access, theft, damage, or malicious attacks. It involves implementing various security measures to prevent cyber threats and minimize the risk of data breaches and other security incidents. Cybersecurity is essential for businesses, governments, and individuals alike, as cyberattacks can result in significant financial losses, data compromise, reputational brand damage to buyers, and other negative consequences.

Ecommerce fraud/malicious attacks are any deliberate deceptions made during an online transaction with the aim of financial or personal gain for the cybercriminals or fraudsters, even if it adversely affects the merchant.

If you have or help run an ecommerce store, the unfortunate reality is that fraudsters and cybercriminals may target you and your business. This affects your profits, consumes time, and negatively impacts your brand’s reputation and potential customer experience.

You can implement security hygiene practices that best protect your business by being educated on current/common cyber threats and taking active steps to operate your business securely. Look through this guide, where we cover the different types of malicious cyberattacks merchants can face and tips for combatting them.

Close-up of a laptop screen on a two-factor authentication screen. This individual has their code and is done typing it in. Shopify Photos

Ten low-lift ecommerce cybersecurity practices that work

Businesses can implement several good cybersecurity measures to protect their systems, finances, and data from cyber threats. Here are some of the most effective measures:

  1. Enable multifactor authentication wherever possible to add an extra layer of security. You may see multifactor authentication as MFA, 2FA, and 2SA. Hint: check out Shopify’s Help Centre page on Multi-Factor Authentication.
  2. Encourage employees to use complex passwords.
  3. Avoid sharing login credentials across employees. Tip: Do not communicate these via email or social messaging services.
  4. Use a secure password manager such as 1Password.
  5. Limit access to sensitive data only to employees who need it. Hint: check out Shopify’s Help Centre page on Setting Staff Permissions.
  6. Use real human names when setting your account owner (AO) if verification is required.
  7. Regularly update software with the latest security patches and updates to address known vulnerabilities.
  8. Encrypt sensitive data in transit and at rest to prevent unauthorized access.
  9. Backup data to a secure location to ensure it can be restored during a security breach.
  10. Use firewalls and antivirus software to protect your network and devices from malware and other cyber threats.

This individual creates a to-do list on a notepad to ensure his accounts are kept secure. Things he has to get done: change password and enable two-factor authentication. Shopify Photos 

Key Actionable Takeaways:

🔥 Tip: Train employees on cybersecurity best practices

Please educate your employees on how to identify and avoid phishing, vishing, and smishing scams, create strong passwords, and handle sensitive data safely. Regular training and reminders can help keep your team vigilant and aware of potential threats.

🔥 Tip: Build a robust Incident Response Plan for your business

A plan can help you respond quickly and effectively to a security breach. This should include steps for containing the breach, notifying affected parties, and restoring systems and data. Regular testing and updating of the plan can ensure it remains adequate and relevant.

By implementing these cybersecurity measures, businesses can help protect their systems and data from cyber threats and minimize the risk of data breaches and other security incidents.

This originally appeared on Shopify and is made available here for broader discovery.
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