Cybercrime rates are rising and are expected to keep rising as time marches on, making website owners and customers alike understandably nervous. Data breaches can lead to the loss of vital customer data. This leads to identity theft, which will deter future customers from coming to a website and destroy the reputation of the victim. Most websites cannot survive even a single major attack, yet most websites lack adequate defenses.
While website owners can try to focus on every single threat, they will find themselves overwhelmed quickly. They should instead try to focus on general principles that allow them to preempt and react to threats as they appear.
Remembering Basic Computer and Internet Security
The best hackers will not try to get into a website or access sensitive information via a flashy but inefficient method. They will try the most basic methods they know first, and then move on. This means that the basics of cybersecurity still apply, and owners should note the following:
- Security suites need to be installed on every device involved with the administration of your website and the handling of sensitive data. There should be no exceptions to this policy.
- Remote work should only be done on devices that are using a well-reviewed Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a service that connects users via encrypted connection to an offsite secure server, keeping data and information safe from interception on public networks and tracking of any sort.
- All accounts related to an e-commerce website should use as many verification measures as possible, but this cannot be stressed enough in regard to email addresses and website host accounts. They are the main keys to entry, and most other accounts are linked to them.
- Personal devices and computers should be kept separate from the computers used in e-commerce website administration. Mistakes can be made and data lost when the two are mixed, and personal browsing habits usually carry more risk than those associated with professional web-browsing.
Defend Against Social Engineering
Most website shutdowns and data breaches are not caused by exceptional technical skill on the part of a cybercriminal. Instead, the vast majority of data leaks are caused by human error. This can range from cloud service mismanagement to an employee leaving their email password on their desk. Social engineering takes advantage of human failures and uses them to get easy access to website and customer data.
Website owners and administrators can defend themselves if they invest in proper training beforehand. The weakest link in the security chain is the one that will break, as social engineering strategies nearly always involve a blanket attack (which most people correctly ignore or delete) or the direct targeting of this most inexperienced employees after close surveillance. After initial training, owners should reinforce it every few months.
Administrators also need to take time to inoculate their readers and customers as best they can from social engineering attacks. Comment sections and reviews need to be well moderated, and emails sent out need to be authentic and professional-looking. Website owners cannot let scammers use the good brand of their website. Otherwise, the victims will start to associate their website with security problems.
A great policy for this aspect of cybersecurity is to simply forbid yourself and others to share account or personal information unless it is in person. Alternatively, a video or phone call where identities can be confirmed will also work well. Some will find it to be a hassle, but a cyberattack is a much greater hassle to deal with.
Note the Tools You Use and Their Vulnerabilities
Every successful e-commerce website uses a small arsenal of tools in order to grow their sales and make the site a better place for customers, but not all of them are optimized for security. This means that backdoors are often present in websites so hackers can track users and plant malware in the website. This makes the management and maintenance of such tools a vital part of any e-commerce cybersecurity strategy.
Any plug-ins or tools that a site owner uses should be updated or supported frequently. Hackers and cybersecurity professionals alike find vulnerabilities every day, and the reason most updates and patches are released are to counter these problems. If a tool isn’t being updated frequently enough, then it is a sign to move on and find a more modern option.
Website owners should also be aware of the danger of XSS attacks regarding add-ons or plugins, in which a hacker will inject malicious code onto a website via a form, an application or the comments section of a website. Many vulnerabilities are patched, adding to the necessity to maintain updates. In some cases, however, website owners need to weigh the risks of the offending script with the benefits the script provides. In this respect, great website design can help forward cybersecurity goals.
E-commerce website owners need to stay aware of the dangers just lurking around the corner when it comes to Internet use. Only a complete cybersecurity strategy will be effective, so readers shouldn’t forget about the basic or human components of their plan while looking at the tools they use.
While the above viewpoints are all vital to keeping a website safe, they are not everything that an owner need to do. They also need to stay vigilant for new threats, as hackers develop new strategies in order to make a profit. Keeping up with the latest trends and news is a must, so owners should devote at least some time each week to stay up to date, along with making sure that their current systems are running smoothly. The investment of time will be well spent.
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