Ever since the first eCommerce sites were ever launched – years ago – hackers have looked for ways to steal the sensitive data of innocent online shoppers. Even today, with our advances in technology, hackers victimize eCommerce sites. These hacks and fraud attempts not only jeopardize vital data, but they also scare off customers. Who wants to shop on a site that’s been hacked when there are so many other options out there? That’s why it’s vital that as an eCommerce retailer your customers have faith in your site’s security.
But how do you protect your site – and customer data – from being stolen? Following are the top 15 ways you can use to protect your eCommerce site from being hacked.
1. Make sure you have a secure eCommerce platform.
Your eCommerce site needs to be built on a reliable and secure platform. Our experience has proven that a platform using a sophisticated object-oriented programming language offers the most security. The ability to prevent external access to your administration panel is also a key feature to look for with your platform.
2. Make sure your checkout process has a secure connection.
First and foremost, make sure you’re PCI compliant. That, and the use of a strong SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) authentication for web and data protection is enough to shield out hackers while giving your customers a sense of security. When they’re confident in your checkout process security, they’ll be more inclined to convert and return.
3. Avoid storing crucial data.
There was a time when it was common for eCommerce retailers to store customer data, to increase user experience. However, the trend has shifted. Customers have their own ways of speeding up the checkout process. There’s no reason to store sensitive customer data, including credit card numbers, expiration dates and CVV2 codes.
4. Make sure to require strong passwords.
Protecting your customers data means doing more than just protecting your site. It’s your responsibility to make sure there aren’t any chinks in your armor. That means ensuring your customers use strong passwords when creating accounts on your site. A password that must include symbols, numbers or a certain length is ideal.
5. Set up system alerts.
System alerts can be your best friend. They’ll help you constantly monitor your transactions without investing the time to do so. Receive alerts for all suspicious activity, including multiple orders placed by one person using various cards, or variations in account holder names. That way you can address the issue immediately.
6. Add layers to your security.
One of the most effective ways to protect your eCommerce data is by layering your security with features such as firewalls, contact forms, login boxes, search queries and more. These layers help to protect your site from application-level attacks, such as SQL (Structured Query Language) injections and cross-site scripting (XSS).”
7. Train from within.
All of the technology in the world can’t protect your data if your employees aren’t property trained. Make it a point to hold formal security training seminars, where you go over measures such as never emailing or texting sensitive data, nor discussing private customer information over chat sessions, as these are not secure channels.
8. Avoid fraud with tracking numbers.
One of the most expensive losses felt by eCommerce sites is the chargeback. There are times when these chargebacks are fraudulent, thus truly costing your business valuable dollars. To combat chargeback fraud, attach tracking numbers to all of your shipped orders. If you drop ship, then this is particularly important and should be a standard.
9. Don’t monitor alone.
As the owner of a business, you of course are inclined to monitor your site regularly, and you should. However, you shouldn’t have to go it alone. Your host company should also be monitoring your site, including using a real-time analytics tool. Make sure you activate alerts for any suspicious behavior.
10. Scan for security.
Knowing the constant health of your eCommerce site will help you to avoid being surprised by an unwanted attack. We suggest you perform regular quarterly PCI scans, which can be done through a service such as Trustwave. If you use Magento, make sure you are constantly updating to new versions.
11. Patch everything … now.
Never wait to patch everything, the moment a new version is released. Patch everything including Java, Python, Perl, WordPress, Joomla, as well as your web server. Attackers love these channels and are quick to take advantage of any vulnerabilities that come to light. Patches are released specifically to address these vulnerabilities.
12. Get DDos protection and mitigation service.
DDOS is Distributed Denial of Service, and these types of attacks are increasing in frequency and sophistication. How do you combat this? With cloud-based DDoS protection and managed DNS services. This will eliminate your need to invest heavily in equipment, infrastructure, and training. A cloud-based solution handles it all for you.
13. Stay updated.
We can’t stress it enough – you have to keep your system updated in order to avoid a cyber attack or fraud attempt. Software developers constantly release updates to introduce new technologies and optimize your system. Make sure you keep your system up to date, or hire someone to take on that task.
14. Always backup.
It should be standard practice that your company regularly backup all data. You can choose to do this on your own, or you can hire a hosting service. If you do hire a hosting company, make sure they’re actually completing the task. Backing up your data protects you from losing your data after a failure, power outage, or virus attack.
15. Protect account information.
One of the ways you can protect data while showing to your customers that you consider all safety measures is to not reveal a customer’s whole account number once it’s confirmed. When the customer is asked to review all information provided, be sure the majority of the account number is hidden.