Best ways to protect Ecommerce site from cyber criminals

  • Joy Mali (CSO Online)
  • 20 March, 2015 12:52

With the festive season fast approaching, online retailers everywhere will be busily preparing themselves to meet the bulk demands of customers but another community is also waiting in the wings. The festive season is a primetime for nefarious cyber criminals or hackers looking to steal important data of your customers. With passage of time, hackers are improving their skills and are founding quite innovative ways to trace online behavior and steal credentials of the customers.

From stealing debit/credit card information to attacking privacy and poaching ecommerce data, this online nuisance has many shapes and names. But, with the right security approach you can save your e-commerce website from these cyber criminals. In this article, you can read some effective ways to protect your Ecommerce site from these cyber criminals. Let’s start.

1.Choose ecommerce web hosting service provider wisely

People often think that the e-commerce site security is mainly based on the software they write. Although the web application itself must also be secure, the other chief factor is the Web Hosting being used. Between shared and dedicated hosting, dedicated is more secure and ideal for ecommerce business. Shared hosting has multiple users all are accessing the same server: running under the same operating system, using the same resources, etc. Dedicated hosting plan, whether it be a co-located server, a dedicated server, or a VPS, only a single user is using the server (or in the VPS case, the virtual server).

Having multiple users on the same server (shared hosting) is dangerous in two ways. First, if any of the shared users has wrong intentions, he could exploit what your site has to offer. For example, if your site has a world-writeable directory, that directory is writable by some other users on the server (unless extra steps are taken). Second, if any of the shared users has right intentions, but is running a website or software that has security flaws, your website is also vulnerable to the threats. Therefore, it is recommended to choose dedicated VPS hosting providers. In addition to this, you must know how to secure virtual private server so that no hacker can break into it.

While selecting good web hosting service providers, you should also check out the type of software and hardware that they use. Those hosting service providers which use advanced and updated software should be your prime choice because this software is not easy to hack and comprise all essential security features. Similarly, you should be well aware of your web host’s hardware. Web hosting hardware requirements include storage and it is imperative to know what kind of storage hardware your service provider is offering. If you are planning for e-commerce website, then hardware plays a crucial role in it.

2.Keep Data Encrypted

All the data that flows between the web server of company and the website of customers should have encryption in order to stay away from eavesdropping or a phishing attack. SSL authentication is a must-have for e-commerce sites from small as well as large retailers. SSL effectively protects sensitive data that travels across the web and encrypts sensitive information such as credit card details and passwords. The SSL certificate makes these important data unreadable to everyone apart from the intended recipient, protecting it from cyber criminals and hackers.

3.Be PCI Compliant

In addition to using SSL protection, it is recommended to ensure that your ecommerce website is PCI compliant. Any merchant who accepts debit/credit cards, both offline and online, must be compliant with the PCI Security Standards Council and meet all the regulations in order to ensure they are keeping the payment data of customers secure. Merchants who are not in compliance with PCI Security Standards Council face tough penalties.

4.No Need to Store Sensitive Data

It is quite risky to keep confidential information, such as credit and debit card details,of your customer on your server because it can possibly entice an attacker to steal such sensitive information. Further, in accordance to PCI Standards it is forbidden to store such sensitive data. You should keep only the minimal amount of data to complete refunds and charge backs, and clear out stores regularly so as to comply with the PCI Standards and to give identity thieves nothing to steal. You can also prevent online fraud by verifying addresses and CVV2 codes for all the online transactions.

5.Insist on Strong Passwords

Many people fail to create a strong password that is designed to protect. As an online retailer it is your responsibility to insist on strong passwords when your customers set up accounts on your site. It’ll not only protect all the sensitive information retained at the back end of your ecommerce website, but also minimize site breaches. A strong password has a minimum amount of characters and contains a mixture of symbols, letters and numbers.

6.Penetration testing

Penetration testing or ethical hacking is a necessary step in ensuring your ecommerce site is inaccessible to the hackers and fraudsters. There are many penetration testing companies out there offering the services you need to put protection and customer privacy at the top of your agenda as a retailer. The ethical hackers will attack on your server with the intention of finding security weaknesses. After the penetration testing, they will make a report to enlist all the weakness in your security threats. This report helps to make your website completely secure and keep your web assets safe.

Joy Mali is a certified digital analyst who helps online businesses to perform better on the web with best solutions & advice. Her content is featured on many mainstream sites & blogs. You can follow her on Google plus.