Websites are easier to hack these days. Even larger companies are not safe from hackers. Consider the “string of high profile hacks, humps, and hooplas, besieging the cyber space of retailers, movie studios, banks and others (Fortune).”
In fact, before 2014 ended, (as you may remember) Sony Pictures Entertainment experienced a massive data breach resulting in inaccessible internal emails, leaked movies, and leaked information that contains salaries of around 6,000 employees and executives.
Websites that have been compromised also found a resulting decrease in their customer base or decline in share value, as well as profit loss.
The good news is that you can protect your e-commerce website against cyber criminals who want to breach your network. Here are 6 ways to get started:
1. Be knowledgeable.
One way to avoid online breaches is to get the right information about the types of attacks that exist today. Most e-commerce websites are faced with vulnerabilities that allow them to be accessed by those who want to extract information from a database.
For example, SQL injection attacks are attacks where cybercriminals probe web applications with SQL queries to get the information they need. Some hackers use Cross Site Scripting attacks (XSS) where they take untrusted data and use it to take over accounts. Having a firewall can protect you from these types of attacks.
These days, however, Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS) are prevalent in even the largest e-commerce sites. A DDoS attack happens when your network is flooded with fake traffic in order to exhaust your website. Ordinary users are blocked off from using your site, leading to revenue loss.
To prevent this, research and sign up for a cloud server service to help mitigate the attack and provide you with a DNS resolution that improves the connection between your site and its customers.
2. Don’t store sensitive data .
Customer data such as credit card information, CVV2 numbers, and expiration dates should not be stored in your database. Make it a point to purge old customer records and resolve to only keep a small amount of customer data on your servers.
Yes, this information is heavily needed for various business operations, but exposing customer information when you are hacked can put customers (and your brand) in peril. Always think of your customers and make sure that they are protected from cybercriminals.
3. Start with your customers .
One way to ensure website security is by encouraging customers to protect their own data. Instead of allowing them to use weak passwords, make sure they create a strong password with different characters and cases to protect against hackers. Also, encourage customers to be more vigilant about phishing activities that could mask themselves as your service. Informing your customers about possible attacks can help them prepare for threats.
4. One layer of security is not enough.
From firewalls to secure passwords, it’s important to have multiple layers of security for your website. Firewalls can prohibit possible attackers from gaining access to your network. You can also include security features on contact forms, search queries, and user passwords to ensure application-level attacks are warded off from your website.
5. Update your system .
Among sites that have experienced a security breach, researchers found that they share one thing in common: they run on old versions of software and code. Software and security programs installed on your system should always be updated to protect your data from new vulnerabilities that may arise. Once a security patch is released, make sure your system is updated swiftly. Update everything from WordPress plugins to third-party code.
6. Think like a hacker .
The best way to protect yourself from a hacker is to think like one. If you don’t have the right skills to match a hacker, why don’t you try hiring one? Instead of working against a hacker, work with them to gain access to the information you’ll need to protect your network and site infrastructure.
Make sure that you’re working with someone you can trust. Test them out and have them prove their technical worth, or ask around your network for those who have a proven track record in defending networks and systems.
Following these tips can help you protect your e-commerce website against possible attacks that can harm your brand and business. Always be informed about the latest attacks, so you can research how to avoid them. Having a well-protected website allows you to gain steady revenue and can even help you gain the trust of your customers.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Vincent Sevilla is a professional graphic designer and musician, web designer for WebsiteSetup. He also has a background in online marketing.