They can work alone or as part of an organized group. They try to identify vulnerabilities—problems or weaknesses in computer systems—and use them to achieve their goals.
Cybercriminals can have multiple motives when launching cyberattacks. Some attacks are for personal or financial gain. Others are "hacktivists" who work for social or political causes. Some of the attacks were part of cyber warfare operations by nation states against their adversaries or were part of known terrorist groups. This is part of a comprehensive series of application security guides.
What is the cost and impact of a cyber-attack on the business?
The global cost of cyber-attacks is expected to grow by 15% (1) annually and exceed $10 trillion. Ransomware attacks are increasingly costly, now costing businesses $20 billion a year, while a data breach in the US costs an average of $3.8 million (2). Another disturbing statistic is that public companies lose an average of 8% of their stock value after a successful breach.
How prepared is the organization for cyber-attacks?
In a recent survey, 78% (3) of respondents said their company's cybersecurity measures needed improvement. Even 43% of small businesses have no cyber protection. At the same time, organizations of all sizes face a global cybersecurity skills shortage, with nearly 3.5 million vacancies worldwide, including 500,000 in the US alone.
Cyber-Attack prevention strategies
Let’s start by looking at how to reduce the risk of cyber-attack. Hackers don't need to know how much money is in your bank account to get in. Your identity, your financial data, your emails...it's all valuable. Cybercriminals will cast a wide net to get as close to someone as possible. So how can you reduce your chances? Why not consider a cyber security digital marketing campaign?
You could start with the basics of "cyber hygiene," a simple way to protect yourself online. Here are a few simple things you can do:
Let's start by turning on multi-factor authentication
Any organization you work with online will want to ensure that they are in fact dealing with you. That's why the industry is taking steps to double-check. Instead of asking you for a password (which can be reused, easier to crack or steal), they can verify your identity by asking for two types of information.
Update your software
If possible, enable automatic software updates. Cybercriminals will exploit loopholes in the system. Cyber defenders are working hard to fix them as soon as possible, but their work depends on us all updating our software with the latest fixes.
Think before you click
Have you ever seen a link that looks a little crooked? It looks like you've seen something before, but it tells you to change or enter a password. Or claim to need your information because you are a victim of cybercrime. If it's a link you don't recognize, trust your gut, and don’t just click on it.
Use strong passwords
Did you know that the world's most commonly used password is "password"? followed by "123456"? It's also not much better to use a child's name on a birthday. Choosing a simple code is like locking the door but hanging the key on the doorknob. Anyone can enter.
Cyber security risks for ecommerce businesses
Given the diversity of online security threats, we've chosen to focus on the most common types of cyber security risks and cyberattacks and, most importantly, what you can do to prevent them from happening.
Financial cyber-attacks include any deceptive behavior for financial or personal gain during a transaction. For online sellers, fraudulent transactions pose a significant risk of lost profits. Global e-commerce losses from online payment fraud are estimated at $20 billion (4) by 2021, according to Statista.
SQL injection is an attack that uses malicious SQL code to manipulate back-end databases in order to gain access to sensitive information.
Cross-site scripting (XSS)
Brute force attacks
In short, these are automated attacks that use trial and error to guess possible passwords or passphrases to gain access. They usually target admin panels and consumer accounts. DoS and DDoS attacks
Both malicious activities have the same goal: to take down your e-commerce site and profit from it. But technically they are different.
A DoS (Denial of Service) attack is an attempt to shut down your online store, flood it with unwanted traffic, and make it inaccessible to regular users.
DDoS attacks (distributed DoS attacks) are carried out from multiple devices or botnets (also known as 'groups') of computers infected with certain malware. Basically, your server receives a flood of requests from many untraceable IP addresses, which crashes it and makes your online store inaccessible to your visitors.
E-skimming, also known as a Magecart attack, is a hacking technique that steals credit card and personal data from payment card processing sites. Attackers access online stores using hidden malicious code to capture payment information that customers enter on checkout pages.
Malware is designed to steal data, spam your domain, or provide lateral access to other data areas using remote access tools. These malicious programs include ransomware, spyware, adware, Trojan horses, bots, and worms.
According to Business.com, 43% (5) of all data breaches, including malware and ransomware attacks, happen to small businesses. They also reported that 60% of small businesses affected by cyberattacks went out of business within six months of the incident.
This is an online scam where hackers pretend to be real contacts. It can take the form of emails from business partners or phone calls from customers, which is why these fraudulent communications are so difficult to spot. Phishing is a social engineering technique that mimics a real web server or application to distribute malicious attachments and steal user credentials. According to the ITGovernance report, 14.6% (6) of phishing attacks targeted the e-commerce industry.
Best practice steps for ecommerce security
We can get many references when it comes to looking at how to prevent cyber-attacks. One of them is an instruction through PCI DSS on payment transactions, but it would be too detailed and extensive.
Here are some top e-commerce security tips that are worth your checklist.
Use SSL and comply with PCI DSS security standards
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is useful for authenticating websites and protecting data. Compliance with PCI DSS security standards is helpful for the security of financial transaction systems on your e-commerce site. SSL certificates can also be used to authenticate credit card payments used at payment gateways. It prevents fraudulent payments through data verification.
A complete website with DDoS and firewall application
DDoS attacks can make online banking sites unavailable for 2 days by flooding the site with data traffic. It is clear that e-commerce security must be able to stop DDoS attacks. Today, many third-party applications such as CloudFlare, Sucuri, and others are reliable for mitigating DDoS attacks. So, for firewalls, it prevents attacks like SQL injection and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS).
Keep your systems up to date
Very often, many security incidents occur because the system is not updated. Legacy code can be a gateway for intruders. Always update your system to keep your e-commerce site secure.
Multiple layers of security
Multi-factor authentication and stronger passwords, address verification systems (AVS), and security alert systems can better protect the security of e-commerce sites. If your e-commerce site integrates with other parties via API, authentication and encryption devices must be installed on each gateway.
Selected data choices
Not all data should be stored in the backend of the system. This works for sensitive data such as customer credit card data, although it is always encrypted. This complies with the existing PCI DSS certification requirement of not storing sensitive data at transaction locations.
For businesses of any size, the cost of data loss and loss of customer trust can be devastating. That's why we're closing this article with a simple 5-step plan to help you stay ahead of cybercrime: