Ecommerce Security: The Most Important Holiday Readiness Tip

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With the holiday shopping frenzy ready to pick up in the next few weeks, the associated increase in buyer activity and spending will offer cyber criminals an opportunity too good to miss. 

Let's not give them that opportunity.

While protecting your online store is important at all times of the year, now is the time to double down and make security one of your highest priorities. Plus it's good for sales. Gartner reports that by 2020 companies that are digitally trustworthy will generate 20% more online sales than those that are not.

To start, here are some of the major ecommerce security issues and threats that are lurking in the shadows, ready to exploit any existing vulnerabilities of your online store.

Ecommerce Security Threat #1: Phishing

The cybercriminal will pose as a trusted authority or even as your store to get your customers to open an email, instant message or text message with the goal of obtaining credit card details and other sensitive information.

Ecommerce Security Threat #2: DDoS

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are designed to flood your server with a large volume of fake requests and traffic. This can seriously slow down your online store or crash the server it is hosted on leading to major downtime.

Ecommerce Security Threat #3: XSS

In cross-site scripting (XSS), hackers target your website visitors by infecting your online store with malign code. In addition to stealing session cookies which allows them to pretend to be your online store visitors, hackers can use XSS to spread malware, phish for credentials, deface websites and perpetrate more damaging attacks.

Ecommerce Security Threat #4: Bad Bots

While good bots can help you rank your online store in SERPs (search engine result pages), bad bots can compromise the regular functions of your online store including your analytics. These tiny little scripts can wreak havoc on your sales and revenue by scraping your website for pricing and inventory information and then use that information to change the pricing of your online store or give an edge to your competitors.

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Preventing Security Threats

To combat these threats, here are just a few solutions that retailers can implement to protect their customers and improve online store security.

Ecommerce Security Solution #1: Platform Security

Perhaps one of the most basic and important security tips is to choose a solid ecommerce platform and update your ecommerce software on a continuous basis.

For Magento customers, the upcoming release of Magento Commerce 2.3.3. will also release a new security-only patch (2.3.2.-p1) quickly secures your online store. The release includes 75 security enhancements that help close cross-site scripting (XSS) and remote code execution (RCE) vulnerabilities as well as other security issues. This enables users to apply a time-sensitive security fix without committing to the larger upgrade and remain secure for as long as 6 months before switching to the full release.

With this new release of Magento, Guidance clients have the following options:

  • Option 1: A full upgrade
  • Option 2: Security now, full upgrade later
  • Option 3: Security now and then your must have functional changes
  • Option 4: Security Only updates

 

Ecommerce Security Solution #2: Implement HTTPS

Using outdated HTTP protocols makes your online store vulnerable to attack. If you haven't already, implement HTTPS on your ecommerce site by getting a verified and valid certificate from a competent Certificate Authority like SSLs.com or GlobalSign. In addition to protecting users' sensitive information, HTTPS protocols are a ranking factor for Google.

Ecommerce Security Solution #3: Maintain your PCI Compliance

Originally created by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express in 2004, PCI (Payment Card Industry) is an industry standard for processing and transmitting credit card data. It has evolved over the years to ensure that online sellers have the systems and processes in place to prevent a data breach. Whenever an ecommerce store is PCI compliant, it means that the store is consistently adhering to a strict set of guidelines and security measures like not storing credit card data on a local server.

Ecommerce Security Solution #4: Block Bad Bots

This one will require a bit of vigilance as you will be monitoring your analytics for any kind of visitor anomalies that can hint at bad bot traffic hitting your servers. Because bots can read quicker than humans, you will see anomalies like the following: Higher bounce rates but the average page duration is decreasing or lower conversion rates from certain traffic sources. To block bad bots, you can invest in a security solution or apply it the DIY way. With the DIY method, you will want to observe which bots are not respecting your robots.txt instructions, log these bots and then use the httaccess file to block them.

Ecommerce Security Solution #5: SSL certificates

SSL certificates encrypt data to protect it from interception so that the information your customers send to your server is secure and doesn't fall into the hands of hackers. The certificate authenticates the identity of your online store, secures users' checkout data and protects them from financial fraud or information loss. Check with your hosting provider to see if they provide SSL certification as part of the hosting.

Regardless of which option you move forward with, security is the common denominator. We've touched on just a handful of the threats and solutions but like your holiday shopping, the list is long. If you want 100% peace of mind before the holiday season Guidance can help with a complete security audit.

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