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Is your E-Commerce Platform Vulnerable to Remote Access Attacks?

Remote access security controls are heavily utilized across critical industries, including the retail industry, to assure data privacy and security of business assets. As COVID-19 changes the face of the global workforce, remote access attacks will continue to be used as a leverage to compromise the web-based infrastructure of retail businesses across the globe. Therefore, a continuous security validation of your e-commerce platform is of utmost importance.

As the COVID-19 pandemic wrecks the world, a remote working environment has become the ‘new normal.’ As such, e-commerce activities increased more than ever, so did malicious activities targeting e-commerce platforms. As a retailer, you must feel fortunate if your e-commerce platform has not yet been subjected to remote access attacks – this should not be taken for granted because there can be an attack at any instant!

Hence, it is pertinent to employ the best cybersecurity strategies, solutions, and framework that is capable of detecting and mitigating risks associated with remote access compromises. Educating and training employees, customers, and third-party vendors on security best practices should also not be left out.

Factors that makes E-commerce Websites Vulnerable

E-commerce organizations often focus on optimizing their retail websites to generate more traffic, which equates to revenue opportunities. As such, lesser attention is given to data privacy and security.

Many retailers often leverage third-party algorithms on their e-commerce platforms to improve customer experience, such as plug-ins. Moreover, almost all online e-commerce platforms are web-based platforms, therefore there are several technical vulnerabilities that can easily be exploited in the absence of proper web and mobile application security controls.

Some web-based threats and vulnerabilities retailers often struggle with include cross-site scripting (XSS attacks), SQL Injection attacks, remote execution, buffer overflow vulnerabilities, etc. Additionally, threat actors also employ subtle attack tactics such as social engineering (phishing), insider threats, DDoS attacks, and software subversion to initiate precise and scalable cyberattacks on e-commerce platforms.

Generally-speaking, small to midsize companies that own e-commerce websites operate on a limited business; spending on security controls appears to be a luxury for the bigger retailer. Therefore, this poor cybersecurity culture makes them highly vulnerable to malicious actors.

Alarming Statistics

According to PwC, about 69% of customers believe that the average e-commerce website is vulnerable to cyberattacks. Here are some vital statistics, as per the Gemini Advisory Report 2020, which proves the above point:

  • The study has discovered that the “Keeper” Magecart Group has targeted more than 570 e-commerce sites in 55 international countries globally since April 2017.
  • More than 85% of the victim e-commerce websites operated on the Magento CMS, with the maximum being U.S.-based.
  • The Group’s control panel has over 184,000 compromised cards and has generated more than $7 million by selling these details on the dark web.

Securing your E-commerce Platform from Remote Access Attacks

Here are the time-tested cybersecurity strategies you can employ to keep your e-commerce store secure:

  • Stringent Monitoring of Information Systems: e-commerce businesses should use automated software, such as SIEM, to monitor their networks and assets. It helps to deal with issues like unusual account activity or unauthorized connections.
  • Encrypting Web Traffic – retail websites should invest in SSL and HTTPS protocols to protect sensitive customer information from being stolen by malicious actors. This strategy also gives consumers security assurance when visiting your e-commerce store.
  • Performing Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) – Performing VAPT is one of the best ways to address core vulnerabilities. You can hire security experts who can perform a basic vulnerability assessment for your site and provide you with a detailed analysis of what can be done to patch them up.
  • Identity and Access Management: Employee permissions management is very critical. E-commerce websites should only allow employees to access information on a need-to-know basis. This ensures that malicious actors do not gain access to all data even if one user account is breached.

The top industries most targeted by phishing attacks of Q2, 2020 – (Image Source: Statista)

Final Words

E-commerce businesses rely on their websites, implying that hacking or data breaches can tremendously impact the business. Threat actors are evolving their modus operandi by the day, and no e-commerce website can entirely rule out cyber threats. Businesses, primarily e-commerce businesses, need to be aware of the vulnerabilities and take adequate measures to keep their information assets secure.

Those who cannot allocate a separate cybersecurity department to their business for any reason should employ an experienced cybersecurity solutions provider to mitigate such risks and empower their business to function efficiently and securely.