How to stop your ecommerce site from being hacked

Business Insights
29/07/2020

James Ashton from online casino comparison site, FindMyUKCasino.com, explains what protections site owners must have in place to prevent cyber attacks


Cyber security breaches and hacks are one of the biggest challenges faced by owners of ecommerce businesses and websites and the bad news is attacks are only becoming more common.


Hacks are as sophisticated as they are devious and today cyber criminals use a wide range of tools and tricks to break through defences and force their way into websites, systems and databases.


For an ecommerce business, or any business that has a website, the impact of a cyber security breach can be absolutely catastrophic and, in the worse-case scenario, fatal.


Whether hackers hold customer information to ransom, steal bank account details or simply take a website offline, the result is a damaged reputation and lost business.


As such, it is vital that the owners and operators of ecommerce sites do all they can to prevent cyber security breaches and make it as difficult as possible for hackers to get in.


While no website can be 100% secure, by ensuring you have the following protections in place it is possible to significantly mitigate the risk of a cyber security attack.


SSL Encryptions:

The first line of defence against a cyber attack is always a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TSL) Encryption.


This protects any data or financial transactions being sent by a user or customer from their computer or device to your website’s servers.


Specifically, the SSL and/or TSL Encryption stops hackers being able to read or modify the information or funds being sent between your customers and your ecommerce site.


To obtain an SSL or TSL Encryption the best thing to do is contact your hosting provider, such as GoDaddy, and they will put it in place and provide a certificate.


Firewalls:

Think of a firewall as the doorman at a night club. It decides which people (your site traffic) to allow into the venue (your website) and which people to turn away.


A good firewall helps to stop digital cyber security attacks, providing high levels of protection to fend off what hackers might throw at you website.


There plenty of firewall providers, including the likes of Cisco, SonicWall and WatchGuard, to choose from depending on your requirements and budget – but always go with the best you can afford.


Patching:

Patching is a process rather than a product and simply refers to the updates that software providers send out to fix bugs and weaknesses in their software.


It is vital that you ensure all updates are made so that the systems and products you are running are offering the highest possible levels of protection.


Software providers learn of bugs, glitches and new cyber security threats all the time, which is why they regularly push through patches and updates.


If you get a notification asking you to update your system or software, do it without delay.


Staff training:

Phishing scams are a simple yet highly effective technique used by cyber criminals that are becoming increasingly common.


Scams usually take the form of official looking emails that are sent to employees and staff requiring them to click a link or provide information.


When they do, the hacker is able to gain access to the computer system or network they are working from and that’s it, they are in.


By ensuring that staff are trained in cyber security best practices and know what to look for when it comes to potential threats, the likelihood of a breach can be significantly reduced.


Penetration testing:

Penetration testing is where cyber security experts test ecommerce sites to see whether their systems, processes and protections are up to standard.


Some businesses are taking this a step further, particularly those in high-risk sectors such as finance and online gambling.


For example, some of the best gambling sites employ ethical hackers to try to break into their websites to identify any weaknesses that could be exploited by cyber criminals.


The hacker then compiles a report where improvements can be made and then suggests what steps should be taken to bolster the protections in place.


While no website is 100% protected from cyber attacks, by having the above protections in place companies can be confident they are doing all they can to safeguard their sites and businesses.