Thanks to the power of the internet, almost everything nowadays is done online, and that includes the way people do business. From the conventional way of shopping, everyone now prefers to purchase something online. Even paying bills can be done at the comfort of homes as long as there is an internet connection.
But of course, it is common knowledge that doing business online also comes at a price. Despite the incredible convenience and promising opportunities it brings, the security of online businesses can be at risk. In fact, it is often a vulnerable target for hackers and cybercriminals.
If you have an online business, you probably wonder how to protect your transactions and secure your customer’s data privacy. It won’t be an easy task, but there are different ways to make it possible.
Read on to further equip yourself with how to keep your online business transaction secure.
Be Aware of the Possible Security Threats
Everyone knows that it’s important to be on guard when browsing the internet. But the problem is, many don’t have an idea of what they need to pay close attention to in their online activity. As a result, they tend to get complacent without realizing that their security is already at risk.
For such a reason, the first crucial step to ensuring online safety is to be aware of the possible security threats on the internet. It would be a little harder to implement adequate measures if you don’t know what you’re protecting yourself from.
Below are some of the most common security threats to online businesses.
With a phishing attack, hackers may send you deceptive emails as if they are from a trusted entity you most likely do business with. The email may consist of a link that you need to click for checking or updating information. Once clicked, you’ll be taken to a malicious site designed to resemble a legitimate website.
The hacker’s ultimate goal is to trick you into providing relevant information that will allow them to access your business website or account.
Malicious software or malware is a type of software used by hackers to damage, steal, or destroy anyone’s data. While they are often sent as email attachments, you may also get them from clicking or downloading links from certain websites. Once your system is infected by malware, hackers can break into your online business data and restrict you from accessing it.
Another sneaky tool that attackers use to exploit your system’s back end is an SQL (structured query language) injection. They would use malicious SQL code to access and manipulate your database. When the attack is successful, they can view data, delete them, and even gain administrative rights to your database, which are all destructive to your business.
Cross-site Scripting (XSS)
Through cross-site scripting, attackers may input a harmful code into your business webpage to directly steal important information from your customers. When they get the authentication data, they can have full access to your customer’s account.
Attackers can use the payment credentials of your customers to make fraudulent orders. Note that once they log in to the account, it can be tough to determine whether the attacker or legitimate user makes the transaction.
Hackers can also attack your online business through a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. They will flood your website with traffic, causing your server to go down and disabling your legitimate customers to access your site. Attackers use this attack while they’re carrying out data theft or any malicious activity as a strategy to distract security professionals. Your business can lose a lot of money since DDoS attacks may last a few hours to even days.
Employ Heightened Security Measures
Securing your online business transactions may take a lot of work on your part. It won’t be a one-time deal and may not be smooth sailing. Note that there is no way to eliminate these security threats because they are just always around the corner.
But with the proper safeguards in place, you can better protect your business and consumers from such risks.
The following are among the heightened security measures you can employ for your online business.
Use a Reliable Ecommerce Platform
You’ve probably used an eCommerce service to extend your sales online. If so, make sure that you’re operating your online business on a reliable platform, whether it’s an open-source or proprietary one.
To properly do this, you must consider the security features of the eCommerce platform aside from its convenience and range of design.
One way to ensure that you’re choosing a safe platform is by validating whether it provides SSL or secure sockets layer certificates. With an SSL, the transactions between your business site and visitors are protected.
A Google Captcha is another feature that can secure the platform, especially from a DDoS attack.
Update Web Applications
Exposure to the platform is one of the main reasons why any business website is more vulnerable to hackers. As more people conduct their business online, these web applications that operate on remote servers and are accessed via web browsers become more popular. Note that hackers are determined to target security flaws in these well-known web software.
That said, it is essential to update the web applications of your business site. See to it that every software you’re using is up-to-date to clear up any security holes before the attackers can do a break-in. You may think that hackers only choose bigger sites to steal information. But any small business site is valuable enough for any attacker.
Furthermore, it would also help if you sign up for an automatic system update that will maintain the security of your online transactions system even when you forget to download a necessary safeguard.
Regardless of your business’s size, you must limit access to sensitive information to those who only need to see it. For instance, your customer’s transaction details should only be accessible to you or the specific person you authorized. Letting any employee in your business access such information can increase the risk of data breaches.
However, if your employees need to access your business’s computer system remotely, make sure to require more than just a username and password. One way to do this is by providing a second password that is modified regularly.
Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Passwords have been the primary form of authentication on the internet. Unfortunately, they are not enough anymore to secure an online account due to various cyberattacks. In fact, ninety-percent of passwords can be hacked by attackers in less than six hours. Thus, you would need to set up a multi-factor authentication system (MFA) to strengthen your defenses.
An MFA provides additional layers of security around your sensitive data and network access. Besides the standard login procedures, there is a second step of authenticating your identity. It may require verification codes sent to your phone or your fingerprint scan to complete the login process.
Even if hackers get your username and password through brute force attacks or other techniques, they can hardly access sensitive information. It’s because the multi-factor authentication can alert you to any unwanted login attempt.
Utilize A Virtual Private Network
Another way to keep your online business transaction safe is by utilizing a virtual private network (VPN). It is typically an application or service that encrypts your data and disguises your internet protocol (IP) address. Note that attackers can steal passwords, credit card details, and other sensitive data by scanning encrypted internet traffic.
With a VPN, your online activities can travel safely from hackers and prying eyes. You can also restrict unknown IP connections and ensure that outside users accessing your data centers are authorized. There are various VPN services in the market, making it harder to choose. But for a starter, you may consider looking into the benefits of OpenVPN UDP before committing to any VPN service.
Comply With PCI DSS
Before accepting any online payment, make sure that your payment system complies with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS). Generally, they are requirements established by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard Council to ensure the secure transmission, storage, and handling of cardholder information.
The PCI-DSS examines and fixes vulnerabilities in your online transactions system. As a result, you can better protect your customer’s sensitive financial data from cyberattacks by complying with PCI-DSS. Remember that you can be held liable for security breaches in your customer’s data. If you’re found to be non-compliant with the PCI-DSS, you can suffer hefty penalties.
Evidently, there are many security tools available to keep your online business transactions safe. But bear in mind that they are only part of the security measures you can put in place. It may take constant monitoring and updating to make it work.
It’s also worth pointing out that online security should be done by all the involved parties in your transaction. Thus, make sure to educate your employees and customers about safety protocols online.
Whether he’s researching the latest mobile hardware specifics or diving deep into the world of software development technologies, Zachary loves to stay in the know. His talent at simplifying and explaining complex technological concepts makes his blog posts easy to read but very informative. Few people are as enthusiastic about mobile technology as he is, and he’s always ready to analyze a new trend.