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Avoiding Threats in eCommerce Cybersecurity


Cyber attacks on eCommerce web applications increased from 5% to 63% over four years, according to a 2019 Verizon report on the retail cybersecurity threat landscape. There were 234 cybercrime incidents. Out of these incidents, 139 reported confirmed data breaches. These attacks mostly compromised payment data, login credentials and personal information of the users. 

The threat landscape for eCommerce cybersecurity is evolving rapidly. Due to the pandemic, greater reliance on online shopping has also increased the likelihood of attacks on eCommerce sites. Since these sites host a lot of valuable saleable information, hackers are always looking for possible exploitable opportunities. Data protection in e-commerce is also one of the biggest concerns for digital consumers, with less than half trusting these websites with personal information

The silver lining can be found in the fact that 77% of businesses have purchased new security products while 69% have increased security staff, pointing to a clear shift in mindset. But eCommerce cybersecurity will constantly be evolving to stay safe from the rapid advancement of cybercrime. 

What are the biggest threats to e-commerce cybersecurity? 

  • Phishing

Phishing is a form of social engineering that aims to trick victims into sharing personal data and credentials via email, calls or texts. Phishing is a rising threat that capitalizes on manipulating users emotionally to succeed. Hackers disguise malicious emails and make them look legit, convincing people to share information. 

  • Malware and ransomware 

Ransomware, a form of malware, looks to encrypt all your data and lock you out of your system. The hackers usually share the decryption key only after receiving ransom payments. The forced downtime can lead to losses for the business. E-commerce websites can lose out on customers and tarnish their reputations. Since most small online businesses do not securely back up their data, they’re especially vulnerable to this form of attack. 

  • SQL injection

Businesses that store their data in a SQL database experience this form of attack. Hackers manipulate improperly validated data via a malicious query injected in a packaged payload. By doing so, attackers can access all the data and make changes if they want. 

  • Cross-site scripting (XSS) 

XSS usually involves adding malicious code to a legit website. While the site will continue functioning correctly, the end users might be exposed to malware and phishing attempts. 

  • Spoofing

In spoofing, the attackers build a duplicate web page that mimics the original one. The attackers can view any data entered on this page. Unsuspecting users end up sharing credit card info, contact details and personal information with malicious players. 

  • E-skimming

In e-skimming, attackers steal credit card info by directly gaining access to the payments page of the website. They usually use brute force or phishing attacks to do so. Once they have access, they can view all the information being entered on the payments page in real-time. 

How to avoid cyber threats in the e-commerce industry

Cyber attacks, especially those that result in data leaks, don’t just cause operational loss but also lead to revenue loss and reputational damage in the long term. Reparations to bring back operational efficiency to normal is another investment that can affect an organization’s bottom line. Most smaller businesses don’t have the corpus to recover from such an attack. So, preventive e-commerce cybersecurity is really important. 

  • Companies need to ensure that their employees and customers both use the proper principles to create strong passwords. 

  • Endpoint devices for remote workers need to be protected by firewalls and other network security protocols. Unprotected endpoint devices are most vulnerable to any attack. 

  • Create and implement a strong cybersecurity awareness program. The program must be interactive enough to engage the employees. Cyber hygiene practices and the identification of malicious emails should be top priorities in this program. 

  • Enabling 2-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication will go a long way in securing all systems. 

  • Businesses must remain vigilant about the customer data that they have stored. They should also make it a habit to regularly clean their data and remove parts that are not necessary. The less data there is to safeguard, the easier it is to protect it. 

  • Businesses also need to ensure compliance with all industry standards. From PCI DSS for payment protection to NIST for overall cybersecurity and data protection standards, compliance helps avoid unnecessary legal trouble and fines. Other standards include  SOC2 for third-party vendors and ISTG-33 for security risk management. Most of these standards require penetration testing for risk assessment and evaluation. 

Notably, eCommerce shopping is on the rise. The onus is now on the online shopping sites to secure their websites and networks to ensure no major cyberattacks occur. Being mindful of all threats, putting in place a robust eCommerce cybersecurity strategy and following the best safety practices are necessary to keep your customers and business safe.