Why Website Security Matters More Than Ever!

Posted on 12 Jul 2016
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Every day, there are thousands of people who are looking to attack your website and gain access to sensitive information. For most people, it is the potential money they can earn which drives them, but some hackers do it just for the challenge of overcoming your website's security. If you want to provide your customers with reliable and secure eCommerce, then you need to make sure that you take the necessary steps to protect against malicious users.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different ways that a potential cyber criminal might attack your site. If you leave yourself open to even one avenue of attack, then you can be certain that, at some point, one of these potential attackers will uncover it. The number of websites which are hacked each year has risen to 180% of what it was in 2014. Website security for any online presence is absolutely essential, but if you are offering online retail or eCommerce services, then you need to make sure that any and all sensitive, customer data is protected.

How Do Websites Actually Get Hacked In The First Place?

There are more than 876 million active websites in the world. Just think about that number for a second – 876 million. In 2014, the number of websites actually exceeded 1 billion but due to inactivity and quarantine this number has dropped in the past couple of years. It might not come as a shock to you to realise that there is such a hugenumber of websites in the world, but you might be surprised to learn that the world's leading search engine, Google, quarantines around 10,000 websites every single day.

There are dozens of different indicators of compromise (IoC) which could signify a website attack, and it is estimated that between 2% and 5% of all websites suffer from an IoC. Even if we say that is done to poor management as much as any potential threats, and say that only 1% of all websites are actually under attack or infected, then that means that approximately 9 million websites are hacked or infected.

Understanding how your website could be hacked is the first step when defending it and providing trustworthy and secure eCommerce to your customers. There are three main vulnerabilities for most modern websites, including:

  • Access Control.
  • Third-Party Integrations.
  • Vulnerabilities in the Software/CMS.

Whether you're in charge of the website for a small family business, or heading the eCommerce team of a Fortune 500 company, your website's vulnerabilities all come down to the same things. The only real difference in any hacking situation is the motivation of the cyber criminal on the other side.

Of course, the reason why the hacker was allowed to gain access can also change. For example, typical excuses in larger corporation tend to be along the lines of “I thought someone else was handling it" or “I was waiting for authorisation to make the right security changes". For smaller companies, especially start-ups, it can be “Why would anyone want to hack me?" or “I didn't know that I was vulnerable".

Access Control

The threats associated with access control are related to proper authorisation and authentication credentials. If someone manages to guess or brute-force their way through your log-ins, then they can do untold damage to your otherwise secure eCommerce website. When we say log in, however, we aren't just referring to logging in to your actual content management system (CMS).

When you think about controlling who has access to your website, you need to take both external and internal factors into consideration. For example, ask yourself:

  • How is the hosting panel accessed? Is it secure?
  • How do I log in to my server? Can anyone log in?
  • How secure is my website's content management system? Is my CMS Wordpress, Magento or a bespoke, PCI DSS Level 1 compliant system?
  • What saved information is on my computer and who can access it?
  • How do I log into my social media profiles? Can anyone gain access from there?

Access control is the easiest and least time-consuming method for a hacker to gain access to your eCommerce platform and your sensitive information. If you aren't effectively monitoring your access control, then you're leaving yourself open to a world of hurt.

Brute force is a common tactic used by hackers. This is where the cyber criminal will just attempt to guess your password using software that runs through millions of combinations in a short period of time. There are several other methods of attacking through access control as well, including: cross-site scripting (XSS), cross-site request forgery (CSRF) and the Man in the Middle approach (MITM). This is where the attacker will attempt to intercept log in details as they pass through an unsecured network.

Third-Party Integrations And Services

The most prominent form of 3rd party integration being used to gain illegal access to your site includes ads via ad networks which can lead tomalware attacks. In fact, this is becoming so common that it is now known as Malvertising.

Along with Malvertising, many 3rd part integrations and services also offer potential threats. Thanks to the rise of simple CMSs, like Wordpress and Magento, 3rd party applications are more popular than ever. However, these applications are often beyond your control once they have been integrated. When it comes to 3rd party integrations, there is always the chance of compromise. It's no wonder that more and more big businessesare choosing to work with eCommerce companies which can deliver self-contained, completely bespoke eCommerce solutions.

Vulnerabilities In Your Software

Unfortunately, few website owners have the time, ability or understanding to properly address any issues in software. Most of the time, even everyday developers and web designers are unable to deal with threats that their own code introduces. Even if the weakness isn't with your website's software, it could be in any other system which is integrated including your warehouse management system or your site's infrastructure.

This can even be extended to the browser you choose to use, whether it is Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge or Mozilla Firefox. Just some of the potential methods of intrusion can be Remote Code Execution (RCE), Remote/Local File Inclusion (R/LFI) and the increasingly common SQL Injection attacks (SQLi).

Why Is Your Website's Security So Important?

If your website does not offer secure eCommerce, then you are not only opening up your customers to potential threats, but you could be leaving your business open to attack as well. A single security breach, if not dealt with immediately, can act as the funeral dirge for any business.

Your website is the face of your business on the internet – it is your brand, your storefront and is often your first contact with customers (ignoring social media). If you aren't able to offer PCI DSS Level 1 compliant, secure eCommerce then your essential business relationships can quickly become compromised. Just some of the common threats can include:

  • The theft of customer data and any other sensitive information; this can include the loss of personal information such as names, dates of birth, email addresses and contact details. In the worst circumstances, this can include the theft of credit card data.
  • The potential cyber criminal could hijack your site, filling it with inappropriate content. Sometimes, the hacker will even attempt to hold the site until you pay them off – it is essentially blackmail.
  • Your intruder could also cause your site to crash. This can cost you a lot of money in terms of lost revenue. What's more, they can even do enough damage to your site that it will take weeks or even months to repair.

Once you've been hacked, your website will never be thought of as completely trustworthy again. This can have a hugely negative impact on your customers' opinion of your business. Even if you stop the threat before any real damage is caused, if your audience finds out how close you came to losing information, then you might never be able to repair their trust.

Google's Official Guidelines On Preventing Your Site From Being Hacked

Google's search engine has led the fight against damaging websites and hackers by quarantining such a huge portion of potentially threatening online presences. Therefore, when they offer a range of different guidelines to help protect your site from potential intrusion, you know that they are talking sense.

Google's official guidelines for website security include:

  • Improve log-ins and account security by creating lengthy, difficult to crack passwords. Make sure that you never repeat passwords across all platforms including social media or any other devices.
  • Make sure that you keep your website's software updated. That includes your content management system (CMS) and any plug-ins or third-party integration.
  • Make sure you research how your hosting provider will handle potential security issues and understand what their policy is to hacked websites.
  • Use essential tools to stay up-to-date on any potentially-hacked content on your site.

Why Do You Need Industry-Leading Payment Security For Online Retail?

Online fraud is, as we know, at an all-time high. What's more, as consumers become increasingly tech-savvy, they aren't going to trust any website which doesn't offer the right security credentials. You need to make sure that you really bring home the security of your eCommerce solution; otherwise, your customers are likely to abandon their shopping cart before purchase.

If you are going to offer eCommerce, then you need to make absolutely certain that you are able to do so in an extremely secure manner. The only real way that you're going to be able to offer a truly secure online retail presence is to choose to work alongside a professional team of eCommerce specialists.

Here at Advansys, we offer secure eCommerce solutions for all kinds of business. We have been PCI DSS Level 1 compliant for many years and we know just how important it is when protecting a website from potential threats.

What Is PCI DSS Level 1 Compliancy?

PCI DSS is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Set up by the biggest names in digital payment and credit card security, this is a worldwide standard which works to make card payment processing that much easier as well as reduce credit card fraud. There are 12 different requirements if any eCommerce provider hopes to obtain PCI DSS Level 1 Compliancy. These include:

Build And Maintain A Secure eCommerce Network.

1. Install and maintain a firewall to protect customer and business data.

2. Use custom passwords and non-vendor-supplied security parameters.

Protect All Cardholder Data.

3. Use encryption to protect any and all stored data.

4. Encrypt the transmission of cardholder data and sensitive information.

Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program.

5. Use and regularly update anti-virus software.

6. Develop and maintain secure systems and any integrated applications.

Implement Strong Access Control Measures.

7. Restrict access to data using a need-to-know strategy.

8. Assign a unique log in and ID to anyone with computer access.

9. Restrict physical access to cardholder data.

Regularly Monitor and Test Networks.

10. Track and record all access to network resources and cardholder data.

11. Regularly test security systems and processes.

Maintain an Information Security Policy.

12. Maintain a consistent policy that addresses information security.

Don't Take The Risk – Choose Secure eCommerce From Advansys Today

At Advansys, we have worked alongside hundreds of businesses over the years to create truly secure eCommerce solutions. Along with offering the highest levels of online security, we are also able to create completely bespoke eCommerce solutions with a focus on user experience. By offering complete security throughout the entire process, you can drastically increase your sales and encourage your audience to buy your products.

If you want your users to buy from you, you need to earn their trust. By working with a PCI DSS Level 1 Compliant company like Advansys, you can show that your online presence is completely above board and is guaranteed to offer a completely secure eCommerce service. Alternatively, you can check out ourrecent blog post for real ways to protect your website from internal and external threats.

For more information, don't hesitate to get in touch with our team of secure eCommerce specialists today on 0845 838 2700.

We’re always happy to help and can help you take your business in the right direction.

You are always welcome to visit us in our Wokingham office or you can also call us on 0118 380 0201 and drop us a message via our the website.

We'd love to show you how you can get more web traffic and leads, increase your online sales, provide better customer service & grow online.

Call us

0118 380 0201

Find us

4 Millars Brook

Molly Millars Lane



RG41 2AD

United Kingdom

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