According to the Global Information Security Survey by Ernst and Young, customer information is the most valuable type of data for most attackers. The threat to cybersecurity and privacy is increasing: about 6 in 10 organisations (59%) have faced a significant incident in the past 12 months, and 48% of executive boards believe that cyber attacks and data breaches will more than moderately impact their business in the next 12 months.
Data breaches involving payment fraud and other issues related to online security have skyrocketed over the past few years, coinciding with the growth of the e-commerce industry, especially during the COVID-19 mandated quarantine regime. Measures to protect businesses and customers against cyber threats have never been more important.
The Increased Danger of Open-Source Software Vulnerabilities
One challenge that has grown for e-commerce businesses is that of open-source software vulnerabilities. Open-source software uses code that anyone can view, modify, or enhance. And while it has been hugely valuable to e-commerce businesses, it also carries a number of cybersecurity challenges.
‘’Open-source software is popular because it is often free to use or can be modified to suit the individual needs of a business. But this popularity means that any vulnerabilities found in the code can be a massive problem across a huge number of websites. Add in the changes COVID-19 has brought, and this problem has intensified a lot. Companies should really start making technical improvements to their websites fast if they want to avoid a potentially catastrophic breach. If they continue using unpatched, open-source software with vulnerabilities, they’ll leave themselves open to attacks,’’ comments Juta Gurinaviciute, Chief Technology Officer at NordVPN Teams.
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Another issue businesses are facing is the rise in attacks on outdated or fake plugins. When used on companies’ websites, these compromised plugins can lead to the spread of malware. One such issue is e-skimming, an attack where malware infects online checkout pages to steal payment and personal information of shoppers. E-skimming is getting more common, companies both large and small have been hit by e-skimming attacks in the past two years, and that includes big names like Macy’s, Puma, and Ticketmaster.
Other security threats to e-commerce sites include phishing, ransomware, SQL injection, DDoS attacks, and cross-site scripting (XSS).
Cybersecurity is Critical
E-commerce websites hold a lot of valuable data about their customers, and that makes business owners a target. Customers put a lot of trust in the merchants they shop with, providing personal data and sensitive payment information with every purchase. Earning consumer trust is critical to a continued relationship. Once lost, earning it back is really hard.
Businesses are also required to meet various compliance standards, and fines can be levied if those are not met. In case of a breach, there is a whole host of other problems to address: forensic investigation, data recovery services, credit monitoring for impacted parties, and liability insurance to help mitigate this financial risk, to name just a few.
E-commerce security is never a done deal. Threats and hacking methodologies evolve at an alarming rate, so maintaining awareness and a security-focused mindset is the key to staying secure. Layering multiple solutions for business security is one of the best ways to keep an online business safe against cyber attacks.
‘’Companies can start with their firewalls (including web application firewalls), making sure the connection is secure, ensuring that passwords are strong, implementing multi-factor authentication, using intrusion detection systems, and constantly monitoring and updating web platforms,’’ the NordVPN Teams expert adds.