5 Key Threats to Every E-Commerce Company in 2021

posted 9/21/2021 in Insurance

If you operate a business, you probably have a website and internet presence. In techspeak, “e-commerce” simply describes making your product or services available for purchase online. If you do business over the internet, you must take precautions to ensure the security and safety of sensitive information. New threats arise every day, targeting you, your customer information, website data, and more.

Most internet threats have a financial motive: scammers target companies or customers to obtain access to bank accounts or other valuable assets. Even small businesses can find themselves targets of common financial scams. Larger, better known companies can face additional threats motivated by political ideology, moral outrage, or simple malice.

Companies that fall victim to a threat that compromises their client data or otherwise puts their customers at risk can suffer permanent damage to their business and reputation. Understanding the potential risks and putting security measures in place to guard against these hazards is the best way to protect your e-commerce business.

While it’s impossible to list every current e-commerce security threat, here are five of the most common things that pose a danger to most companies’ online operations.

  1. Payment Scams: Direct and Simple Fraud

E-skimming is one of the most direct and classic methods of internet fraud. This scam involves infecting your website’s checkout pages with malicious code. The software records the personal details and financial information that a buyer enters. This information can then be used to access those accounts directly or may be sold to other individuals engaging in identity theft. Small businesses that fail to take appropriate steps to protect the security of this kind of information may also find themselves facing liability for customer losses as well as significant reputational damage.

Simple credit card fraud also continues to be a big problem for online retailers, such as using stolen credit card information and making fraudulent returns. Using outside secure payment gateways (like PayPal) to handle the financial aspect of your purchases can help reduce the danger to your clients, but every business should also take precautions to ensure its overall website security isn’t vulnerable to infiltration or malicious software.

  1. Website Infiltration Attacks

An “SQL injection” uses malicious code to access sensitive information like company data, user lists, and private customer details. A multi-pronged anti-virus and cybersecurity software solution is key to protecting your website from malware (malicious software) and other vulnerabilities. Your ongoing data protection strategy should also include a web application firewall (WAF), which helps to filter out SQL injections and other online threats from unauthorized sources.

SSL is a protocol for creating a secure connection for user-server interactions. It helps to authenticate and encrypt links between computers on a network. An SSL certificate (indicated by the “HTTPS” preceding your website address) helps to improve overall security, guards against unauthorized remote access to your website, and indicates to customers that your site is more secure.

  1. Denial of Service Attacks

Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks involve individuals running programs to automatically generate more traffic to your site. Although you usually want to increase traffic on your site, these programs can block access to your legitimate customers, cause lags or delays, and even crash your website. Sometimes, a DoS attack is accompanied by a ransom demand, indicating that the attack will stop if the business sends money to a designated address or account. To prevent this kind of cyber threat, engage a DoS protection service to constantly monitor your website’s incoming traffic and block any fraudulent or suspicious attempts to gain access.

  1. Phishing Attacks Targeting Customers

Phishing attacks remain common and can significantly damage customers’ trust in a business. In a typical phishing scam, hackers send communication to your customers that looks like it is from your business. It usually asks the customer to enter some information or take some other action that exposes their sensitive information to the hacker (like clicking a link that takes them to a harmful website or opening email attachments that install trojan horse viruses or other malware).

Unfortunately, once these phishing emails have gone out to customers, it is very difficult for a business to stop the damage. Recipients may click on links that look legitimate because these emails can be very well put together and fool even savvy internet users. An email may ask them to provide feedback about their recent experience or rate your services, which may entice well-meaning customers into the scammers’ trap. The best way to prevent phishing is to carefully guard the security of your client lists, customer information, and website data, preventing scammers from ever sending phishing messages.

  1. Brute Force Attacks

Resist the urge to use simple, easy-to-remember passwords to set up and manage your e-commerce website portal. Fraudulent programs can use “brute force” to spool through thousands of password combinations to attempt to obtain your site’s admin passwords (and authorization to make changes to your site). Use strong, complex passwords that are hard to guess, and change your passwords frequently.

E-commerce threats are just the latest way malicious individuals are targeting small businesses. To protect against those threats, many businesses add cyber insurance to their business insurance policies. This helps cover financial losses due to cyberattacks or other tech-related risks, as well as privacy investigations or lawsuits following an attack.

To learn more about cyber-liability insurance, contact one of our knowledgeable agents. 

Not FDIC Insured | No Bank Guarantee | May Lose Value | Not a Deposit | Not Insured by any Federal Government Agency

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