Cyber security in the retail and ecommerce areas show wider issues than just PoS and web application attacks. Data integrity, customer privacy, authentication & non-repudiation are top eCommerce security challenges.

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Cyber security in retail and eCommerce

Businesses are adopting newer ways to keep up with customers trends. This is directly linked to speed with which development can be done. However, brand reputation is a key factor in the online retail and eCommerce space. Customer privacy is rising to the top like never before, thanks to new regulations and customer awareness. 

As we all know, data breaches significantly impact brand reputation, and it may lead to legal implications based on the incident and regulations. Ultimately, it leads to a decrease in consumer confidence.

As growth takes place, board and senior management must make cyber risk a priority. The importance of cyber security can never be under-estimated, especially in post COVID world. Blind spots in your corporate infrastructure, production website or other critical assets pose a serious risk to the organisation.

A good eCommerce security ensures the following functions of CIA triad:

  • Confidentiality of consumer data against unauthorised access
  • Integrity relates to accuracy and completeness of data
  • Availability is about the timeliness and reliability of access to use the data
cyber security for retail and ecommerce

What are the key security challenges ?

The biggest cyber security threats in retail and ecommerce sectors

ecommerce security threats
  • Web and mobile application attacks against retail websites, especially targeted at payment areas. Card skimming attacks such as Magecart attacks (cyber criminals) and customer reward program hacks are some of the examples of cyber threats in eCommerce. Validation such as web application security assessments & internal penetration testing should be sought along with identifying technical risks in the mobile applications
  • POS or ‘point-of-sale’ attacks since POS contain the most sensitive data i.e. payment information.
  • Insider threats are a constant threat to retailers. An insider could be an employee, vendor or contractor who commits a malicious or ignorant act using their trusted relationship with the host organisation.
  • Loss of compliance in PCI DSS, ISO 27001, GDPR could expose an organisation to financial, legal and reputational implications. 
  • Bad bots, automated programs designed to run specific tasks, are causing more harm. Around 1/5th of all eCommerce traffic composes of bots that could be used for account acquisitions (based on credentials bought on dark web), credit card frauds and such.
  • Patch management adds to the security risks due to open vulnerabilities, or instances where exploits are publicly available before the patch is released by the vendor. 
  • Vulnerable third party modules are other areas where websites fall susceptible to online threats. It is important to ensure the right selection of platform and third party modules that have ongoing support. Some of the plugins for instance, WordPress plugins are developed by freelancers who discontinue support after a while due to change in jobs or in favour of other opportunities therefore, causing risk to the ongoing users. 
  • Ransomware is one such attack that’s more prominent and attackers are looking at advanced ways to target consumer applications, devices.
  • Dos and DDoS attacks associated with the attacker groups often aim to cause business disruptions where service is unavailable for legit website users.
With the mobile eCommerce growth on the continuous rise, it is important that secure development practices with proactive approach towards validation exercises is considered before hand. Secure mobile applications and consideration towards top API vulnerabilities and the push for proactive approach would not only add to the regulatory requirements but also offer the peace of mind against real time cyber attacks that are common in the eCommerce sector. 

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