Internet commerce has flourished in the last few years, with hundreds of new websites popping up every day. Statistics say that e-commerce is one of the fastest growing online niches and in 2013 only, the amount of business to customer (B2C) commerce sales grew to $1,3 trillion. This huge growth of internet shopping has attracted many dishonest individuals. In the same year, online retail industry was the prime target of cyber criminals, and e-commerce websites were victim of 45% of all cyber attacks. The reasons behind this are the said trillions of dollars that are pouring into this perspective niche.
With all this in mind, it is very important for e-commerce administrators to introduce elaborate security procedures, and for customers to watch with whom they are sharing their personal and financial data. In this article we share some helpful tips for both website administrators and online shoppers.
Introduce SSL Certification
The Secure Socket Layer made by Netscape creates a private environment in which the net server and the shopper’s browser communicate. SSL certifications represent the most basic protection for online transactions and the SSL certificate’s trust mark is widely known and recognized since most e-commerce websites have it.
Prevent SQL Injection
SQL injection is one of the most notorious methods for extracting information from the application layer. It enables cyber criminals to access databases directly by feeding SQL statements. With this mechanism, malicious users can access: credentials, customer’s financial information, company statistics, etc. SQL injection can be prevented by adding tougher firewall layers and security patching of servers and databases.
E-commerce websites should always be updated and tested for new security threats. PCI scans can be done through several online services (Trustwave for example) and this will definitely decrease the risk of being hacked. Another important thing is to stay updated when it comes to the software you are using, especially with third-party ones like Magneto or PrestaShop. Always be updated about new versions and security threats.
Keep Transactions Transparent
Systems that enable simple, secure and compliant transactions, such as Promise Pay escrow, are great for making all your transactions transparent. This is very useful, especially with big transactions, such as car or real estate purchases. Although these systems are not too interesting for e-commerce entrepreneurs who work in retail, the concept of transaction control by a third-party app is becoming more popular lately.
Use Respected Websites
Every shopping spree needs to start from a well-known and respected website and not from a search engine. Lots of different rip off websites use domains that are similar to some of the most popular retail brands, so be very careful when typing a website address. Writing “net” instead of “com” can take you to a different website than the one you intended.
Create Stronger Passwords
Passwords are the most common security defense online shoppers use, and that’s why they need to make them strong, especially when leaving data on e-commerce websites, where their personal and credit card info are also stored. One of the best ways to make strong passwords is by using pass phrases and the diceware method.
Credit Cards Are Safer Than Debit Cards
Credit cards have spending limits that are a life saver if someone steals your identity and credit card number. Debit cards on the other hand are directly connected to your account and therefore it is not advisable to use them for online shopping. In addition, money taken from a credit card can be declared a fraudulent charge, while the sum that is directly taken from your bank account is usually gone forever.
Choose Websites with Encrypted Checkout Forms
Most e-commerce administrators encrypt checkout areas with SSL certificates. You should only use these websites, and the existence of this encryption can be easily checked: look for the padlock icon in the address bar and an address of a checkout page that starts with “https”, instead of “http”.
With so many criminal minds out there, the only way to be safe is to watch your own security and provide the same for your shoppers, because this will make them more loyal to your online store, and customer loyalty is the number one priority when running a successful e-commerce business.