Digital Defenders: How To Protect Your E-commerce Site From Cyber Criminals

Cyber attacks are becoming more commonplace with hackers targeting businesses across industries.

E-commerce websites, in particular, are attractive targets because they contain a wide range of valuable data, from customer information to credit card details.

The Digital Defenders Partnership (DDP) is an emergency grant program that helps to increase safety for online human rights defenders such as bloggers, journalists, and NGOs. It also builds capacity for digital emergency response ecosystems.

Understanding the Risks of Operating an E-commerce

Cybercriminals target e-commerce websites because they provide lucrative data to criminals. This includes credit card information, email addresses, phone numbers, and other personal details. These details can be used for identity fraud, stolen funds, and other crimes. They can also be sold on the dark web.

Cyber attacks on e-commerce sites are becoming more sophisticated as criminals learn how to overcome various security measures. 

Some of the most common e-commerce cyberattacks include phishing, spamming, and malware. Cybercriminals sometimes hijack websites by delivering ransomware, which locks users out of their systems until they pay a large sum.

One way e-commerce businesses can mitigate these risks is by implementing specialized solutions. For example, bot management solutions can help to identify suspicious visitors and block them from carrying out malicious activities. 

They can also protect against other threats like account takeover, denial of service attacks, cart abandonment, scalping, scraping, ad fraud, and more.

Another critical step business owners can take is to back up their ecommerce site's data regularly. This can be done using a Backup as a Service (BaaS) app. 

Rewind is a leading provider of BaaS and has helped more than 80,000 businesses back up their data on Shopify, QuickBooks Online, BigCommerce, Trello, and more.

Training Your Employees on Safe Online Practices

In today's digital age, training employees on safe online practices is more critical than ever. 

Cybercriminals are always looking for ways to breach company systems, and they often use social engineering tactics such as phishing scams to trick employees into giving up sensitive information. 

To protect your business from potential cyberattacks, educating your employees on best practices for online security is crucial.

Password Management

Creating strong passwords is an essential first step in securing online accounts. 

Encourage your employees to use unique passwords for each account and to avoid using easily guessable information such as birthdays or names. 

Consider implementing a password manager to help employees securely track their passwords.

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams involve cybercriminals sending emails or messages that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or an employer, to trick employees into revealing sensitive information. 

Train your employees to identify phishing scams by checking the sender's email address, looking for grammatical errors or unusual requests, and verifying the email's legitimacy with the supposed sender before taking action.

Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication, requiring a secondary authentication method such as a text message or phone call, can add an extra layer of security to online accounts. 

Encourage employees to use two-factor authentication whenever possible, particularly when accessing sensitive data or financial information.

Software Updates

Regularly updating software and applications is an essential part of maintaining online security. 

Ensure your employees know how to check for and install updates on their devices, and consider implementing automatic updates where possible.

Reporting Suspicious Activity

Ensure your employees understand the importance of promptly reporting suspicious activity or potential security breaches. 

Establish clear protocols for reporting incidents, and emphasize the importance of timely reporting to minimize the impact of a potential breach.

Training employees on safe online practices can help protect your business from cyber-attacks. Regularly update your training program to stay current on emerging threats and new technologies. Remember, cybersecurity is everyone's responsibility.

Common Cyber Attacks to Look Out For

Cyber attacks have become more sophisticated and commonplace, so ecommerce businesses must put in the extra effort to keep their websites secure. 

When a cyber-attack hits, it can take your website offline and cause critical data to be lost. Depending on the type of attack, it may also affect SEO by preventing visitors from visiting your site or even blacklisting it altogether.

One of the most common attacks on e-commerce sites involves financial fraud. This is when a criminal uses stolen credit card information to make unauthorized purchases. This can be especially damaging for online retailers who offer loyalty programs and gift cards.

Another common attack on e-commerce sites is called “e-skimming.” This is when hackers infiltrate a website's checkout page with malicious software to swipe customers' personal and payment information. This is why it's important to use HTTPS protocols on your website, which can prevent this type of attack.

These trends will continue in 2023. Hackers can also target e-commerce sites through brute force attacks, which involve using specialized software to guess the credentials of your website's admin panel. This can steal sensitive information from your database, including customer identities and bank account information.

Establishing Secure Login Credentials and Firewall

Cybercriminals do not discriminate based on the size of an operation, meaning that every business – small, medium, and large – is vulnerable to attacks. As such, all ecommerce sites need to emphasize security more.

One of the most basic and effective ways to do this is by establishing secure login credentials and firewalls

This prevents hackers from accessing and stealing customer data, including names, email addresses, and credit card numbers. It is also a good idea to utilize HTTPS, which encrypts sensitive information on a website to ensure privacy and security. 

Limiting the amount of information stored on an ecommerce site can help minimize the risk of fraud.

Another way to prevent cyberattacks is by integrating specialized solutions that can mitigate the most sophisticated threats. 

For example, using a bot manager like Radware BotManager helps prevent attacks such as account takeover (ATO), distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), skimming, scraping, cart abandonment, and ad fraud. 

By analyzing the intent of each visitor, a dedicated bot management solution can filter out unwanted activity, keeping your business and customers safe.

Best Practices for Securing Your Website Data

Ecommerce websites require a lot of personal and financial information, which can make them a lucrative target for cyberattacks. To protect your e-commerce business, you must implement cybersecurity solutions to ensure your customers' data is always secure.

One of the best practices for e-commerce security is to use encryption, as it protects your website from hackers. This is particularly important when dealing with credit card data and login credentials. 

Also, consider using a third-party payment processor to help keep your customer's information secure.

Another way to improve e-commerce security is to ensure your employees understand the different types of cyberattacks. This can help reduce the risk of them falling victim to phishing attacks when criminals pose as trustworthy sources and ask for sensitive information.

It's also a good idea to enforce strict password policies. This means that employees should have strong passwords with upper and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. 

This will make it more difficult for criminals to breach your site by accessing customer information on the back end. It will also reduce the risk of them accidentally sharing this information in email, text messages, or chat sessions.

Considerations for Payment Security

E-commerce websites allow shoppers to shop around the clock and make purchases without visiting a physical store. They also provide a convenient way for startup businesses to build their brand and gain customers. 

A secure e-commerce platform is essential for protecting your customers' data and your own business. 

Choose a platform that offers data encryption, uses HTTPS, and avoids storing sensitive user data. Having a security software solution that automatically scans your website and devices for malware regularly is also a good idea.

Digital Defenders Partnership (DDP) is a Freedom Online Coalition and Hivos program that supports critical internet activists' safety by providing emergency response funding, sustainable protection support, and capacity building for local digital humanitarian networks and human rights defenders. It also provides Digital Integrity Fellowships for people at risk of attack.

Investing in Cybersecurity Solutions

A business with a reputation for being secure with consumers' personal information will attract more customers. It will also be more likely to retain existing ones, which is beneficial to the bottom line of an e-commerce website.

No industry is immune to cyberattacks, and a data breach will affect every aspect of your business. Whether it's a loss of customer confidence, higher operating costs, or an increase in insurance premiums, the impact of a cyberattack is widespread.

Cybersecurity is no longer a “nice to have” option; it's an essential component of the modern enterprise. 

The best way to protect yourself and your company from cyber attacks is to invest in a comprehensive cybersecurity solution that will limit data loss, monitor third-party risk and continuously scan for leaks. 

This will help prevent many breaches that compromised third-party vendors typically cause.

A cybersecurity platform that includes a threat intelligence feed, an incident response team, and a continuous vulnerability scanning tool will allow you to detect cyber attacks as they emerge quickly. 

It will give you a detailed view of your business's security status. This enables you to prioritize your company's needs and ensure that any issues are addressed immediately.

Wrap Up

Protecting your e-commerce site from cyber criminals is essential for the success of your business. The internet has made it easier for companies to reach a wider audience, but it has also made businesses vulnerable to online threats.

 As we have seen, cyber attacks can lead to losing sensitive data and damaging your brand's reputation. 

You can significantly reduce the risk of a breach by implementing security measures such as SSL certificates, firewalls, and regular software updates. 

Training your employees on safe online practices, such as identifying phishing scams and creating strong passwords, can help strengthen your security posture. 

With the right tools and strategies, you can become a digital defender and protect your e-commerce site from cyber criminals. 

Remember, cybersecurity is an ongoing process, and staying vigilant and up-to-date on emerging threats is essential to keep your e-commerce site secure.

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