Crucial Security Threats to eCommerce

eCommerce is bringing the world to our doorsteps. But, the industry is still an open target for hackers and cyber security criminals who prey on innocent and naive customers and make away with private information.

Approximately $3.5 Billion is the damage that e-retailers suffered in 2012 due to security threats. This estimate will further increase substantially considering the pace at which eCommerce is growing globally.

So, what kind of threats does the eCommerce industry hide from? How can they be tackled? Let’s talk in detail about it.

Primarily, eCommerce threats happen from three sources:

  1. Customer fraud: The customer himself being the perpetrator of the crime
  2. Hackers: Who steal customer information and conduct fraudulent transactions
  3. Employees: Pilferage, internal theft, leaking of confidential information, etc.

#1 Customer fraud

Customers, the origin of sales revenue are also the first point targets for frauds. Here is how customers are cheated in eCommerce by culprits.

Identity theft

The personal identity of a customer is a gold mine of a hacker to carry out several successive frauds. A stolen online identity with proven credentials can be used to make expensive purchases using credit cards or debit the ultimate responsibility of which will fall on the innocent customers.

Triangulation fraud

The triangulation fraud happens in stages. In the first stage, the customer is lured by the criminal by posting great and irresistible offers on best selling products. The customer buys into the offer and pays for it.

Criminals who had created the fake offer now collect the credit card information and use it to buy the real product at an inflated price. They dispatch the product to the customer and also use the credit card information for further purchases of their own. Since most of the stores which function this way have very loosely coordinated contacts or information, the customer is at a loss to take any legal action.

#2 Hackers

Hackers or cyber security criminals are malicious elements who steal the digital information of customers as well as online stores. They usually target online stores since the volume of data and the amount involved for the effort is significantly larger.

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service)

Imagine you are at home and too many come asking for help and random requests. Being the nice person you are, you try to help and in the time leave your doors open. Thieves make their way in and when you are distracted may away with everything you consider precious.

This is how DDoS also works. It bombards the server too many requests that it literally crashes. And when it is down if the security provisions are not of a grade that can sustain security, hackers can easily make entry and steal information like customer details, personal contact, location, why; even credit card information if it is stored in online servers.


Eavesdropping means to listen to someone’s talking discreetly. In the digital medium, it refers to peeping into someone’s network and intercepting the data that is being transferred through it. Eavesdropping can have a serious impact if the data transferred is something like bank account transactions, login credentials, passwords and so on.

In the eCommerce industry, it is mostly online payments which in the wrong hands can cause severe damage to the customer’s personal finances.

Online phishing

Many a times you must have got emails from banks warning you not to open emails that ask for your username, passwords and similar sensitive information. They are actually warnings against phishing scams. Phishing scams work like baits. They lure you into parting with sensitive information related to your online identity or accounting information which can be used for fraudulent profits.

#3 Employees

In most cases, security breaches happen in organizations and enterprises as a result of employees lapses in ensuring the security of their data.

Loose security measures

Sharing of passwords, repetitive use of easily guessable passwords, using the same password for all critical functions are some ways how employees compromise their organization’s data to hackers.

Weak passwords

Passwords like ‘1234’, ‘password’, ‘qwerty’’, etc. are known to all. They should never be kept as passwords. Also, people have the tendency to keep passwords of their spouse name and date of birth, etc.

Since it is easy to remember. If it is easy to remember it is also easy for hackers to break. An ideal password will contain alphanumeric characters with a combination of uppercase and lowercase alphabets which cannot be broken easily. And also there are different ways except this to create a strong & unbeatable password.

Unprotected admin panels

Admin panels are the secret vaults that contain all the crucial information on a website. Gaining access to it like taking over the control tower from where all operations can be handled. Sadly, despite knowing the dangers, most website administrators have the bad habit of keeping default admin passwords to their admin panels which make thing easy for hackers. This is common in CMS platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Magento, etc. which are used to build eCommerce websites.

Ensuring data security in the eCommerce industry

Although the eCommerce industry is riddled with several cyber security issues, there are several ways to protect it from data security threats. A proven way to do it is with SSL certificates. Wildcard SSL Certificates, EV SSL certificates, etc. provide online stores and other websites with encryption security that prevents hackers from stealing data.

They work on the principle of encrypting data using cryptographic keys which ensure the safe passage of data from one end to another. If the price is a cause of concern for you, you can always make use of discounts & coupon on wildcard SSL certificates which bring data security within the reach of small businesses too.

It is worth noting that small and medium businesses are the primary target of cybersecurity criminals. They contain a growing pool of live customer data which can be exploited for financial gains. Some ways that hackers use to steal information is also described above.

The responsibility to ensure security is upon the website administrator and the customers. In the end, if proper care is taken, you can save your store and your personal information from being leaked into the wrong hands. Stay safe, Surf safe.

Labdhi Shah is a freelance writer and blogger. She is focused and dedicated to her work. She also loves to dance and try various recipes on Sunday's. Apart from this in her free time, she loves to get engaged with people, social activities and travel to explore the world.