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Five best practices to protect your online store

Introduction

Most of us stayed at our cozy homes during the pandemic. On the other hand, for some people, it was the perfect season to orchestrate a cyberattack. During 2020, we witnessed cyber attacks towards some of the popular organizations like SolarWinds, Twitter, MGM Resorts, Zoom, etc. All these attacks pose as a breeding ground for panic and despair in all of our hearts. The damages due to cybercrime are increasing day-by-day and are expected to reach US$ 6 trillion by 2021. However, you will be shocked to know that protecting your online store from cyber threats is not so much hard as it seems to be.

Top 5 best practices to protect your online store

  • Make sure your online store is PCI DSS compliant.

PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.  Understanding PCI compliance may feel overwhelming for business decision-makers. Usually, the charges of being a PCI compliant are anywhere from $1,000 – $50,000, depending on your business size. 

To safeguard your online store from data breaches, your store must be PCI compliant. Under PCI compliance, the seller’s responsibility is to protect the cardholder’s necessary information such as the cardholder’s name, credit card details, and expiry date. You are also responsible for protecting sensitive data like CAV2, CVV2, CVC2, CID, PINs, etc.  

Being a PCI compliant and maintaining that compliance is a challenging task. It generally involves implementing security controls, consulting with third-party for dedicated software and hardware, and having an expensive contractual binding to the bank’s term for annual compliance. However, you should know that if your business doesn’t comply with PCI standards, you are just inviting costly forensic audits, investigation, damage to your brand image, and more.  

  • Implement two-factor authentication

If not through a direct attack, someone could very well steal and guess valid user credentials. This could comprise your online store security. The second priority best practice should be implementing 2-factor authentication as an extra layer of protection.  

In this security practice, the user needs to provide two means of identification. One is the usual username/password, and the other is an auto-generated code sent to the user’s verified mobile number. Even if the hackers manage to crack the password, they can’t steal the auto-generated code, which usually expires after a short duration.                                                                                                                                         

  • Keep yourself updated with security patches.

Hackers are always on the watch to exploit the security vulnerabilities of the app. For your online store to be secure, you need timely software updates and patches. Most organizations believe that security patches are rare, but in truth, they are not. That makes code patching a must to ensure security over your online store. It is good to act on security patches and consider using a patch management system to keep track of the latest patches and updates.

In addition to this, you should also keep healthy best practices to keep yourself safe 

  • Audit your systems regularly.
  • Using updated firewalls
  • Documenting your security policies
  • Limit administrative access. 

 

  • Lookout for malware and spear phishing

Even after explicitly paying attention to software updates and security patches, your store might still possess threats from cybercriminals. They can spot a yet-to-be detected vulnerability and use it to put malware onto your store. These vulnerabilities can go undetected for days or even months. Such kinds of zero-day exploits are not rare. 

A relatively new threat comes in the form of formjacking. Formjacking exploits a weakness in your app and steals valuable customer information. British Airways, in 2018, fell victim to formjacking cybercrime and faced a penalty of $229 million. To reduce risks to such menaces, you need anti-malware protection for continuous scanning of your code elements.

Phishing is yet another menace that needs to be addressed. Cybercriminals are always on the lookout to extort data from your organization in any way possible. Generally, phishing happens via emails such as

  • Posing as a vendor requesting sensitive information
  • Tricking your employees to login to a different site
  • Requesting urgent wire transfers 

It’s always a best practice to rely on advanced email security with anti-phishing tools to stop this. On top of it, you should set up anti-phishing training for your team to keep everyone aware of such malicious activities.

  • Monitor flow of traffic through a secure router

Investing in industrial routers could pose to be beneficial for you. Modern routers are packed with security features to monitor malicious activities. A few of the features are as follows:

  • Intrusion Defense System (IDS)
  • Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)
  • VPN data encryption

Having both IDS and IPS functionality acts as an added security feature. IDS carries out the network traffic monitoring while IPS functions more like a firewall allowing only qualifying data flow. 

Conclusion

As technology is advancing, so are the means for hackers to exploit different technologies. One should stay on constant watch and follow best practices to avoid being a victim of cybercrime. This blog presents the top five best practices to follow to protect your online store from malicious activities. Does your organization follow each one of them? Let us know in the comments section below.

About the Author: Hardik Shah works as a Tech Consultant at Simform, a leading Simform. He leads large scale mobility programs covering platforms, solutions, governance, standardization, and best practices.

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