How To Secure Your Ecommerce Store
30 Jan 2021
Ecommerce has revolutionized our online purchasing behavior. More and more businesses both large and small are now realizing the value of eCommerce and racing to get a piece of the cake. This growth, however, comes at a price. With the increasing number of online purchases, online stores have been a target by most cybercriminals who may damage their reputation, steal customers’ data, carry out illegal transactions, inject viruses, etc.
Various online store owners think that simply because their business is small or medium-sized, it cannot be targeted by these cybercriminals. However, that’s very wrong. These malicious hackers love to target small and medium-sized businesses because they are not very secure against cyber threats. You do not want your online store being taken down after all the hustle of building and maintaining it for a long time, do you? But before we dive into the security measures for protecting your online store, let’s look at some of the potential threats online stores are vulnerable to.
Security threats that online stores face
Phishing: This is the fraudulent attempt by malicious hackers to steal sensitive data such as usernames, passwords, credit card information by impersonating themselves as a trustworthy entity in digital communication. Here, the users are lured by communications claiming to come from trusted parties such as social media platforms, banks, auction sites, IT administrators, etc.
Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks: This is an attack where the attacker sends a lot of fake traffic to your server using various computers, making the website inaccessible or unable to function properly.
Spamming: This is where an attacker sends you infected links on email, social media inbox, or comments. On clicking these links, you are directed to their spam websites where you may be a victim.
Malware: A form of attack where an attacker installs malicious software on your computer system containing viruses, Trojan horses, etc. without your knowledge. When downloaded to the systems of your users or admins, he can steal sensitive data from your online store.
SQL injections: This is where an attacker attacks your query submission forms intending to access your database and steal data.
These are some but not all security threats any store faces. Now let’s see how best we can protect our online store against threats.
How to secure your online store
1. SSL certificate
Secure Sockets Layer(SSL) is a digital certificate that provides website authentication and enables an encrypted connection. It encrypts the data transferred between the users and your online store and make it hard for malicious hackers to steal. Some of the hosting companies offer this for free when you purchase a domain while others don’t. Make sure to buy it if it doesn’t come with your domain. Fortunately, it is very affordable.
2. Use strong passwords
This is overlooked by many online store owners but is very crucial. You have to make it hard for malicious hackers to guess your password. Avoid the common, easy to guess passwords such as birthday, anniversary, pets, etc. Use a very long password with a combination of capital and small letters, numbers, special characters, and symbols.
3. Two-Factor Authentication
It is an extra layer of security added that prevents anyone from logging in, even if they have your password. To log in, one should have a password and verify identity via a security token such as a six-digit code, or a biometric factor such as a fingerprint or a facial scanner. This way, even if an attacker has managed to steal your password, he cannot yet login to your website. To enable Two-Factor Authentication on a WordPress website, you can install and activate the ‘Two Factor Authentication’ plugin. Find site-wide settings in settings -> Two Factor Authentication. Then find your user settings in the top-level menu entry Two Factor Auth. If you also want to enable Two-Factor authentication for your users on the frontend, use the shortcode [twofactor_user_settings].
4. Use of antivirus and antimalware software
Antivirus software helps computers stay safe from computer viruses while antimalware detects and remove malicious software(malware) such as worms, Trojans, and viruses that infect the computer or IT systems. While antivirus and antimalware software do not directly secure your online store, they protect your computer or the computer for the users managing your website against various threats. A good antivirus will let you know when an attacker wants to infect your computer with malicious software and warns you against infected links.
5. Regular updates
Ensure your software such as themes and plugins are up to date. The malicious hackers get smart every day and discover new tricks to take down your online store. Whenever there is a new theme or plugin version, you need to update it since it is probably made secure against any new potential threats. Old themes and plugins are vulnerable to various threats, so do regular updates on your website either manually or automatically.
6. Watch what you download
Quite often, you find yourself downloading various plugins, tools, apps, etc. that enhance the performance of your online store. Though this is a great ability, it can also be a source of website attacks. Some hackers may use these tools to plant malicious software on your website and take control. Some of these plugins, tools, or apps may not be compatible with your website and open your website to various attacks.
7. Secure payment gateway
Customer credit card information is very sensitive and should not be stored in the website database. You can instead use third-party payment gateways like PayPal or Stripe to process the payment transactions. This way, your customers’ personal and financial data is safer.
We hope you now understand how to secure your online store. Do let us know in the comments section if you have any questions.
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