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6 Common Security Issues for eCommerce Websites

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Small business websites have always been a target for hackers and that hasn’t changed in recent times. As a matter of fact, they find themselves even more of a target today. This means if you have an ecommerce website, you should be aware that an attack could bring down your site and even put your clients’ personal and financial information at risk.

But, you should also remember that it isn’t just hackers who pose a threat to your online business. Below, we will have a look at 6 common security issues that ecommerce websites face each and every day.

1. Scripting

People who want to gain access to your server or data can insert a JavaScript snippet on a vulnerable ecommerce web page. This script will then emulate a normal script and, therefore, be executed. Once it runs, the script can do damage by, for example, accessing cookies on a computer or server. This will enable whoever is running the script to access information, leaving the hard disk’s owner exposed to phishing and malware installations.

While these sorts of attacks might not directly hurt your own website, they will hurt your visitors and clients who don’t anticipate having their information stolen. An attack like this means your reputation as a trusted site will take a hit.

2. SQL Injections

This attack specifically targets platforms, like Magento, that use SQL databases. A hacker inserts a malicious set of SQL statements in a legitimate data request that the server then rushes to execute. Should it succeed, the request could let the attacker gain access to the SQL database. This could let unauthorized people create an admin account, delete data from the database or simply read your secret information.

3. DDoS Attacks

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is intended to bring your website down by flooding your hosting provider’s servers with non-stop requests. The attack is usually initiated from hundreds (or even thousands) of unsuspecting computers and servers distributed around the world. These servers would have themselves been earlier compromised without their owners’ knowledge. Once the hackers have access to them, they initiate simultaneous requests (over and over again) that target your website. This will, at first, slow your website down to a crawl. Then, as the requests keep coming in and the server becomes unable to cope with the simultaneous demands, your website goes temporarily offline and stops your legitimate clients from doing business with you.

Luckily, a DDoS attack is preventable and you can even stop an ongoing one.

4. Bots

Bots run all over the internet. Even Google runs bots to index all online websites – a very specific example of a good bot. However, people can create malicious bots that can harm your business. For example, your competitors can create bots that sniff through your website collecting information about the prices of your products. Once they have the data, they could undercut your prices.

Other bots can continuously work on your login mechanism trying to find an account that has access to your servers. Nowadays, many of these attacks are thwarted by using CAPTCHA codes.

5. Third-Party Software Vulnerabilities

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to lock everything down, there will be one or two software solutions you use that come with their own vulnerabilities. While the creators of these third-party software solutions are mainly responsible for creating the exploits in your system, it doesn’t mean you are 100 percent free from blame.

It is your job, as a website owner, to keep on top of breaches and failures that come with any application you have put in front of your clients. You should always be on top of bugs, fixes and patches in every single piece of software you use.

6. Price Manipulation

This relatively little-known attack method seeks out fully automated ecommerce systems. The hackers sneak in their prices into a payment gateway so your clients (who have no idea they are being charged less) will simply proceed to make their purchase and leave your site.

When you’re doing an audit later, you’ll find that instead of the correct price, your clients had been buying your products at a reduced price. Add the fact that hackers have walked away with vital information and you can see how this could be a disastrous security threat to your ecommerce website.

And then there are the usual suspects…

Apart from these 6 types of attacks, there are the more commonly seen attacks, including malware and virus attacks, sniffing of packets as they travel between your ecommerce website and your clients’ computers, and brute-force attacks to gain access to your data servers.

Unfortunately, it’s a bad, bad world out there – that’s why you should always be on guard against all attack methods, both for your clients’ and your own sakes.




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