How the move to e-commerce is affecting retail cybersecurity

E-commerce stores have gained a significant share of the retail market as consumers have remained confined to their homes over the past year. In 2020, online sales constituted 21.3 percent of total retail sales, up from 15.8% in 2019. As businesses shift to e-commerce, cybersecurity is a growing concern. Here’s how you can protect your business.

How is e-commerce affecting retail cybersecurity?

Increase website traffic

When in-store businesses first switch to online sales, they may not realize they have to account for the increase in traffic to their website. If too many people visit the site, it can overload the servers and stop everything. If you are moving into e-commerce, now is a good time to consider increasing your server allocations.

But legitimate traffic isn’t the only threat. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks occur when malicious actors flood a website with crawler traffic in an attempt to overwhelm servers. These attacks are often used as some kind of blackmail or extortion attempt. The attackers will ask for money in exchange for stopping the DDoS attack.

Also Read: 5 Best Practices To Mitigate DDoS Attacks

Stores more customer data on company servers

With online sales, businesses have to store more information about their customers on their servers, including credit card information and customer names, addresses, and phone numbers. All of this data is a high-value target for hackers, and businesses need to take the necessary precautions to protect their customers. Secureworks offers a directory of known attackers and their threat actors to help organizations identify the types of issues they need to guard against.

Rafe Pilling, Senior Information Security Researcher at Secureworks, says, “Payment card data theft and fraud (PCI) and the theft of personally identifiable information (PII) are two of the most costly items of concern to retailers of all kinds. A successful ransomware attack can not only cripple the business, but lead to the theft of regulated and commercially sensitive data.

“Minimizing retained data is the most effective strategy. Criminals can’t steal what you don’t have.

Rafe Pilling, Senior Information Security Researcher at Secureworks

He goes on to explain how businesses can protect their customers from theft. “Minimizing retained data is the most effective strategy. Criminals can’t steal what you don’t have. You will need to follow the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and keep only the information you need on your servers. “Visibility across the entire corporate network is also essential,” says Pilling. A XDR platform (extended detection and response) can give you the visibility your IT team needs to identify and block incoming threats.

Mandates Additional Website Plugins

To increase the functionality of their e-commerce site, businesses need to either customize their website or add third-party plugins. Plugins are generally a cheaper option and are easier to implement, but they come with their own risks. Not all website platforms carefully monitor the plugins they include in their app store, so you will need to be careful about which ones you add to your site. Read the reviews and carefully review the documentation before installing anything.

Courtney Radke, RSSI for National Retail at Fortinet, explains some common issues with third-party plugins and how to protect yourself against them. “As retailers add more cloud-based applications, both for their employees and their customers, they need to improve their security capabilities beyond what they get from cloud service providers. Such applications are vulnerable to various threats and organizations that operate these applications are often required to meet compliance requirements. Radke recommends that companies use a Web Application Firewall (WAF), secure web services and APIs to protect you from known and unknown threats.

Requires additional training for employees

Detecting theft in person and detecting theft online require very different skills and training protocols. When you transition to e-commerce, you’ll need to train your employees to detect and prevent phishing attempts while hiring cybersecurity experts to monitor your website and block and eliminate threats. Small businesses may want to hire a managed service provider for this rather than hiring an in-house team.

Joe Byrne, Regional Technical Director at AppDynamics, who is part of Cisco, discussing the paradigm shift businesses need to undertake when moving to e-commerce, found that the best results come from companies that implement a strategy based on full stack observability . “Full stack observability helps monitor and can also provide business context for the entire IT stack, from the customer level to the network and infrastructure of an application. ”

Byrne explains that this method “allows IT teams to detect anomalies, problems and security threats in real time and have the ability to put everything in the context of the business, transforming what previously took hours and hours. days to correct in minutes. “Speeding up response times can limit the amount of data an attacker can access if they violate your network.

Also read: Email Security Tips to Prevent Phishing and Malware

Protect your e-commerce store against changing cyber threats

Cybercriminals are getting smarter and smarter, but experts are also working to stop them. In order to protect your online business from attacks from attackers, you will need to take the appropriate steps to secure your website. Choose reputable hosting companies, carefully review third-party plugins, and integrate cybersecurity tools designed to eliminate malicious traffic and spear phishing attempts. With these precautions in place, you can ensure the safety and satisfaction of your customers online.

Read more: The best cybersecurity tools for small businesses

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