E-commerce, which has soared during the pandemic, continues to be the preferred shopping method for consumers, with Cyber Monday heralding the biggest online shopping day of the year.
Cyber Monday 2020 saw record sales, with US consumers spending $10.8 billion, according to Adobe Analytics. Consumers spent $10.7 billion last year, with shoppers spending a staggering $12 million every minute during peak hours between 11 pm ET and midnight. Experts predict that Cyber Monday will be the biggest day of online shopping in all of 2022, making e-commerce sites crucial for businesses to reach shoppers during the busy holiday season.
Unfortunately, the rise of e-commerce has led to a massive increase in cybercrime. There are an average of 206,000 cyber attacks against e-commerce retailers per month. Over the past two years, attacks on medium and large retailers have increased by almost 50%, and attacks on small retailers have increased by almost 30%.
Small businesses that thrived during the e-commerce boom are especially vulnerable to data breaches and ransomware attacks. The cost of recovery after a successful attack can be devastating for small and medium-sized businesses. Nearly 60 percent of small businesses that were attacked shut down within six months of being attacked.
Secure Your Ecommerce Site
You can take steps to protect your e-commerce site and your customers’ credit card and personal information.
- Choose a secure web hosting/ecommerce platform. Do your due diligence and check their security procedures. Do they have regular vulnerability assessments?
- Keep your website’s security patches up to date. 77% of attacks exploit vulnerabilities in software already on the computer.
- Please be careful with any tool, application or plug-in that you grant access to data on the website. Hackers may use third-party tools to steal your customers’ data.
- Install a web application firewall to help prevent hacking.
- Set up regular vulnerability scans on your website to help identify potential security issues.
- Limit who has admin access to your website and ensure logins are protected by multi-factor authentication. 63% of data breaches are caused by weak or stolen passwords.
- Keep your security certificates up to date (HTTPS).
- Review your credit card processor agreement to understand your responsibilities under Payment Card Industry (PCI-DSS) regulations.
Keep your personal data safe
When shoppers go online, cybercriminals search for valuable data, especially personal and financial information. Consumers need to share the responsibility for keeping their information safe.
One easy way for shoppers to protect themselves is to change their passwords. When cybercriminals try to break into a system, they start by trying thousands of obvious passwords. Some of the most common and easily cracked passwords over the past few years are: 123456, 111111, password, and iloveyou. It only requires a weak password and your entire system is wide open to any hacker.
Changing your password to something more complex and updating it regularly can thwart cybercriminals’ ability to access your information. A good password should be at least 15 characters, with upper and lower case letters, symbols, and at least one number — the longer the better. Use a password manager to generate and track your passwords, and use a different password for each site.
Some other tips include:
- Enable multi-factor/two-factor authentication on email and financial accounts, and don’t share your passwords with anyone.
- Avoid using public WIFI when shopping online. Use a VPN or connect via mobile.
- Be mindful of what and how much you share on social media. Hackers use social media accounts to collect details such as your pet’s name, the high school you went to, the names of your siblings, and other identifying information that can be used to reset your password.
- Make sure you have up-to-date malware protection on your home computer.
- Check your bank and credit card statements and watch out for any unusual transactions. Hackers may make small purchases to see if you notice or test the card. Many banks also offer sign-up alerts to let you know if your account is used to make a large purchase.
- Be careful when shopping from stores you are not familiar with. Do some due diligence first. Check out the Better Business Bureau, look them up on Google Maps to verify business addresses, and check out reviews.
Whether you’re an ecommerce business owner or a consumer, it’s important to be vigilant when it comes to protecting your data. Cybercrime is a lucrative business. Knowing and following these safety tips can reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
Click here for more column articles.