Security threats in ecommerce: Debunking top 10 myths

Online store operators can be vulnerable to many types of fraud, and it can be hard to tell whether information is trustworthy or not. Take a look at these 10 most common myths regarding security threats in ecommerce.

Customers love online shopping. So do fraudsters and hackers, but for different reasons.

Fraudsters who deal in cybersecurity crimes often target ecommerce, because it’s a gold mine for them. The online commerce industry holds a lot of valuable and sensitive data that is worth millions of dollars on the black market. However, many sellers still leave themselves vulnerable to fraudsters and hackers. Not intentionally, of course, but because of myths and misinformation.

As a seller, it’s important to educate yourself on the risks of operating online, and not only protect yourself but your customers as well. Here are 10 common myths about ecommerce security.

1. Small businesses are of no interest to fraudsters

Is your ecommerce business too small to attract fraudsters?

Online, no store is too small to be 100% safe.

Assuming hackers won’t bother with their business, merchants might be more relaxed with security, jeopardizing the safety of their business and customers.

In fact, it is much easier to hack a few small stores than one big one. Take Walmart, for example. Even though the website has data about millions of customers, not all hackers have the capacity to try and hack it.

Taking security measures is vital for small businesses. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, 60% of small and mid-sized companies that get hacked go out of business within six months. Still, 65% of these companies ignore the need for data encryption.

Small and medium businesses, though, need to implement good security measures or face potential losses in revenue and customers.

2. All ecommerce stores provide the same level of security

Not all ecommerce retailers are equally safe.

Compare a small online store with Amazon. You don’t need to guess which one has more resources and finances to safeguard their operations. That’s why small to medium stores often become a target for fraudsters and hackers.

Even though ecommerce businesses don’t all stand on the same level, all of them are targets for fraudsters and can take precautions. The use of fraud prevention software is a smart choice for anyone wanting to give customers a safe shopping experience.

3. A strong password is enough for security

Do you have administrative access to an online store?

Then you are at risk of a cybersecurity attack.

Though a lot has been said about the importance of strong passwords, not all merchants follow the rule. Moreover, many of them use the same password for various services, including business email, social media account, and so on. If that’s the situation, the risk is even bigger.

Still, the use of a strong password doesn’t necessarily protect from all types of ecommerce security threats. Even the strongest passwords fail due to successfully planned and executed brute force attacks.

Two-factor authentication is one possible solution. Relying on this type of authentication is more secure than using a strong password. Still, even two-factor authentication cannot always protect from crafty hackers. Luckily, ecommerce store managers have access to various software tools and best practices to protect against fraud.

4. SSL/TLS is required only for shops that store customers’ credit card information

SSL/TLS certifications are imperative for all websites, not only ecommerce businesses.

Websites that utilize form fields or collect user information are marked as insecure if they don’t have SSL/TLS certificates. It doesn’t matter if they’re entering credit card information, passwords, addresses, or search queries. These certificates are installed on web servers and make sure that data is encrypted and transferred from a website to the server. SSL/TLS certificates prevent fraudsters from manipulating data.

If a store is flagged as not secure, users won’t trust you with their credit card information. Lack of trust results in low conversions and revenue. So, SSL/TLS certificates should be an integral part of any website. Make sure to address this issue when you develop an ecommerce website.

5. PCI DSS certification guarantees payment security

PCI DDS certification is one of the best ways for an ecommerce business to show its protection against website security issues. While the program provides a framework for addressing issues, it doesn’t make sure that a website always remains secure. Usually, PCI compliance checks are performed every 90 days. Between these checks, it’s your responsibility to look for and address issues. However, not all ecommerce sellers abide by the best security standards.

Many companies suffering data breaches were PCI certified. A lot depends on human behavior and adherence to policies and procedures.

6. Employees don’t violate ecommerce store security

Are your employees doing everything in their power to keep your business safe?

This is probably one of the most popular security myths. Even though it is common knowledge that employees can pose a threat to the business, some companies ignore this fact. Add to this that 21% of cases human error causes breaches, and you might look at this security myth from a different perspective.

This doesn’t mean that your employees are trying to destroy your business. Many just don’t understand that they can jeopardize security. Man-in-the-middle attacks with the use of phishing emails are common among all businesses. There is always a person inside the company that falls for these types of emails.

7. Firewalls and antivirus software are enough

Some business owners think that firewalls and antivirus are enough for security.

Are they, though?

Unfortunately, we are living in times that require much more security efforts. At the end of the day, the well-being of the whole business is at stake.

To make all operations secure, you need more than a firewall. Luckily, there are a lot of web-security-as-a-service companies providing solutions that perform 24/7 monitoring for malware, fraud, performance issues, and much more. You don’t have to hire an in-house team of professionals to address all ecommerce security threats.

8. Fraudsters target only expensive items

This fraud myth is only partially true.

For ecommerce fraudsters, price is not the only deciding factor. While expensive products are of great interest, they usually target small items with high consumer demand. Ecommerce businesses that sell affordable clothes, accessories, sunglasses, and other small items are in the spotlight for fraudsters.

These companies need to take additional precautions against ecommerce fraud.

9. Companies that use cloud technology don’t need additional security tools

Many companies rely on cloud infrastructure because of flexibility, lower support cost, ability to quickly scale up, and high security. Still, the misconfiguration of services opens new opportunities for hackers. Companies don’t suspect that their servers are vulnerable and pose a risk to data security.

Companies that run on Amazon Web Services and other cloud infrastructures should pay additional attention to their server configuration and website performance. Solutions like DeltaClicks help to protect against the most common types of fraud and make sure your website performance is at its peak.

10. Mobile transactions are riskier than desktop transactions

This is false because mobile and desktop transactions pose the same fraud risk.

You should dedicate an equal amount of fraud prevention efforts to all types of devices. Consider which devices bring the most fraud transactions. Remember that what works for the web won’t necessarily work for mobile. Therefore, make sure that you choose a protection platform that can make sure mobile transactions are safe.

With the increasing number of fraud and data breaches, staying on top of your security measures is a necessary solution. Best these myths and be a trendsetter online. Equip yourself with security threats now and later. You’ll see your rewards as your sales increase.

How safe is your store for customers?

Do any of the myths sound familiar? Take immediate action by performing a security audit for your ecommerce site. Use the above information and your findings from your audit to correct website security issues before they affect your customers and your bottom line.

This article is a guest post by GoMage, a development agency supporting Magento online stores since 2010.