Protect E-Commerce Store from Unwanted Hack Attempts: Your How-To-Tips

In our fight against cyber crimes, sometimes even the most robust technologies can fail to protect your e-commerce business. That is why, leaving your e-commerce website’s security in the hands of managed security solutions alone will not be enough.

Website hackers can shut a business down. A website can be hacked in seconds, leading you to lose all the vital information that were supposed to be kept confidential. Security is that tiny little detail that is often overlooked by shop owners. Whether it is using a weak login password or skimping on the site security, data breaches are a costly affair in the world of online business. A data breach can cost a company close to an average of $3.5 million or even more. But revenue loss is not the only fallout when an e-commerce website is attacked.

In addition to this, the direct cost of fixing the problem, loss of sales, investigation of the cause, change of business strategy and losing of customer trust are some of the other identifying damages that a company has to incur. Constant server page load problem and repeated transaction failure can plummet your business brand value down. It can cause investors to lose their confidence, especially if cyber attacks become an overnight public knowledge. In short, a major security blunder can shut down an entire e-commerce business function both online and offline.

Websites should therefore take a proactive defense management approach towards online security. Don’t begin with complex web security solutions first.

Start protecting your e-commerce website with tools and techniques that will keep your website away from hackers and spam bots -

#1 — Find the Right E-commerce Platform

If you are new to e-commerce, then you still have time to make things right and the best thing is to start by finding an e-commerce platform that is reliable. You will find many e-commerce platforms offering complete website solution and integrated functionality in the market. However, search for platforms beyond transaction rates and monthly costs. Here are some of the best known e-commerce platforms known for their top-notch management systems that you might want to take a look at -

  • WordPress — Apart from tight security, WordPress has loads of resources and new features to offer users. If you are new to business, then WordPress can save you thousands of dollars in your website development. You can choose from its vast storehouse of plug-ins as well for a good security plug-in or you can get your developers to custom make a plug-in with strong security service. WordPress offers flexibility to any business requirement.
  • Magento — You can download Magento for free. Magento has a tight built-in security system that keeps an e-commerce business stay protected from unwanted ‘hacktivities’. It is an open source e-commerce platform and so is not tied to any host. Designers and developers can create a customized customer experience that can be hosted from almost any place.
  • Shopify — Running a secure e-commerce solution and a safe online store is their top-most concern. Users need not worry about security updates, because the platform makes timely adjustments to keep up with latest online changes. Its vast range of user-friendly designs and templates are loved by every designer and developer. In addition, Shopify offers a wealth of features and a mobile shopping cart that can make an e-commerce website easily accessible from any device.

#2 — Create a Strong Password

Attackers can use several technology paths to break down your website management wall. They will try to trick every system, input and any parameter in order to find a gateway for injecting malicious software. Your e-commerce management system password too is at risk. Therefore, when it comes to setting up an online store, make sure the account has a strong password.

When setting up a password: Some of the common things to keep in mind -

  • A strong password will include a mixture of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and special characters
  • Avoid using passwords that are easy to guess. It could be — birth dates, anniversaries, nick names, etc.
  • Prioritize the password length. The more complex you make, the stronger it becomes for anyone to detect, even by a computer program.

Facing trouble to create a complex password? Use a secured password generator application like Chrome. Always change your password regularly — a common advice that many prefer to ignore instead.

#3 — Do Not Collect Unnecessary Customer Data

Customer data is private and your e-commerce website should not collect anything that is not necessary to your business. This is a waste and your business is putting the customer at risk.

In case of transactions using credit cards, use an encrypted checkout tunnel instead. This will eliminate the need for a website server to look into the data of a customer’s credit card. Customers might feel the process to be slightly inconvenient, nevertheless, the benefits will far outweigh putting customer data at risk. Also, make sure that any private data that you retain is inaccessible by unwanted intruders.

#4 — Follow and Maintain a PCI Compliance Standard

The PCI ensures that all card holder data is protected proactively. A cardholder data is anything that is associated with the person who is using a card to purchase online. The data can be stored, processed or even transmitted and includes — the account number, name, address, expiration date, social security number, etc. The PCI Compliance Guide applies to all companies that store, process or transmit card holder data in order maintain a secure environment. Anyone not complying may be charged with a monthly fine of $5000 to $100,000. There are also other additional penalty charges, which could altogether damage a business.

The PCI comprises four types of merchant compliance levels. These are -

Level 1 — For over six million transactions every year

Level 2 — For one to six million transactions every year

Level 3 — For 20,000 to 1 million transactions every year

Level 4 — For Fewer than 20,000 transactions every year

Each of these compliance level is based on the number of transactions that are processed every year. It also depends on the nature of business, i.e., whether the business transactions are made online or from brick-and-mortar shop. Any merchant who has suffered a data hack might have to face a higher validation level.

The PCI compliance standard also involves the undertaking of basic security precautions, which include — changing of factory default passwords on all networking equipments and setting up of a firewall between the internet connection and the system, where the credit card numbers are stored.

The PCI Compliance application process includes -

  • Identify Validation Type — To determine the type of self-assessment questionnaire for a specific business.
  • PCI SSC Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) — For the completion of and obtaining evidence after a vulnerability scan.
  • Completion of the relevant Attestation of Compliance, located in the Self-Assessment Questionnaire tool.
  • Submission of the Self-Assessment Questionnaire, Attestation of Compliance and evidence of Approved Scanning along with other relevant information.

All the above steps will be taken care of, depending on the type of e-commerce platform that merchants use for e-commerce. PayPal for example comes with a PCI-compliant link called the Payflow Link. It handles all the PCI standards, and even includes templates that merchants can use to customize their website’s checkout page.

Following the PCI compliance standard ensures safe e-commerce transactions for both businesses and customers.

#5 — Keep Website and Browser Encrypt Communications Updated

Encryption of your website and browser communication is essential when confidential information is transmitted. You can prevent hackers from cracking any code by updating the latest encryption algorithm versions of TSL (Transport Security Layer) or SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). Both TLS and SSL certificates help to prevent encroachment of data caused by activities like phishing and eavesdropping. Test your e-commerce website’s security to ensure that you have an updated SSL and TLS version.

#6 — Test Your Website Regularly

E-commerce websites are active platforms of daily business communication. As a merchant, it is your responsibility to ensure that your site keeps compliance with certain security standards. Test your website regularly to keep it updated and protected from malware and other cyber threats.

Some of the tests that you can undertake to keep your website protected are regular scanning and penetration testing -

  • A regular scan of the web pages and even the links can protect your e-commerce site from hackers and other third-party threats. Look for web application scanning tools that can help you to identify and find vulnerabilities like Cross-Site Scripting, debug code and leftover source codes.
  • For penetration testing, you can hire professional cyber security consultants to detect any kind of code breaches.

#7 — Protect Your Network Perimeter with Quarantine Capabilities and Correct Configuration

There are times, when hackers can access a retail site not only through public internet but also through other company websites. The network perimeter is every-changing, leaving e-commerce websites more vulnerable to activities like cyber crimes and security breaches. An online retailer must therefore ensure that the links have quarantine capabilities, which will separate the network containing confidential customer data from the one accessed by business partners. The network holding confidential corporate data should be built with layered defenses with stronger credentials, identification and access management restrictions in each layer.

Configuring a firewall will require time and effort. However, if your site is managed by a separate hosting provider, then your IT staff will not be able to maintain the network security infrastructure directly.

Some of the must-have security services that your site must have are -

  • Prevention of data loss
  • Detection of data loss
  • Advanced threat detection system
  • Prevention of outside intrusion
  • DDoS protection
  • Antivirus and other malware management service

#8 — Verify all Purchase Orders

It’s bad to doubt our customers. However, keeping a track record of all the transaction orders can protect your e-commerce business from unexpected Chargeback Fraud in the future.

A merchant faces a Chargeback Fraud, when a customer claims that they have not received any product and demands a return of their fund. In such a case, the merchant is often held accountable and has to pay all the transaction fees, in addition to the removal of funds from the customer’s bank account by means of fraudulent activities.

Enable the rules of AVS and CVV. These only apply to the payments made through credit cards. An Address Verification System (AVS) tracks down the address of the card holder. Customers must also provide a Card Verification Value (CVV) number for any kind of purchase transactions made with a card credit. These will remain as a proof that the product was delivered to the right place and can save you from charges.

#9 — Educate and Train Your Staff

For a total security measure, make sure that your staff gets the proper training and education on cyber policy and law. There are certain security measures that everyone dealing with e-commerce business must adhere to. When you train your staff, ensure they know how to monitor the daily transactions and adhere to strict practices that will protect the website from any kind of fraudulent attacks.

Staff training and education is something that every organization must invest in, to ensure that an organization can grow up with a strong base.

Security Management is an Ongoing Process

Cyber attacks are becoming very popular and are in fact the biggest threat to every business this year in 2016. Keep close check on your e-commerce website activities so that the subject of security is never compromised.

Here are the three key checks that all retailers must do in order to ensure a tight security of their website -

  • Daily monitoring of your website for detection of any suspicious activities
  • Testing your website performance across multiple servers, locations, browsers and devices
  • Immediate fixing of any problems as and when they occur

Repeat these three steps daily to ensure a safe and secured e-commerce business and a good brand reputation online. Customers take online security seriously. Hire best web design company and make sure your site keeps up with the promise.

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