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How Indie Retailers Can Protect Themselves From Being Hacked

Customers shop online these days. It’s faster, easier, and more convenient for them to shop from the comfort of their own homes. Yet, convenience, in this case, comes with plenty of cybersecurity threats. And, it’s your job to protect your business and your customers from hackers. Here’s how. 

Over the last few years, e-commerce enjoyed significant growth. Data from Statista shows that in 2019, over 1.92 billion people bought goods and services online. During the same financial year, e-commerce sales were worth over $3.5 trillion globally. 

Now, with e-commerce on the rise, it’s no surprise that the market got really competitive. More precisely, there are an estimated 12 to 24 million e-commerce websites worldwide, with plenty more being created every single day. 

Building your own e-commerce website has become easier than ever before, which is why having an e-commerce store has also become a popular way for everyone to make money online. But while setting up an e-commerce site is easy these days, the real hard work comes when you need to keep it safe from hacking, frauds, and copycats. 

Yet, the less known side of e-commerce is that its increase in popularity has also opened the door to plenty of cybersecurity risks like stolen credit card numbers, passwords, and other sensitive data. Although purchasing goods and services online brings a lot of added convenience to customers and brands alike, e-commerce is a market that has attracted the attention of cybercriminals. E-commerce has made it a lot easier for hackers to commit identity fraud and steal customer financial data such as credit card number and bank account information. 

Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/Q59HmzK38eQ

Five Cyber Safety Tips To Protecting Your Small E-commerce Business 

With hackers waiting just around the corner to steal your customers’ sensitive and financial data, how do you make sure you prevent them from succeeding? And that’s not all hackers can do to your website. They can also break authentication and session management, perform a security misconfiguration, upload a malicious file script and execute it on the website, and trick you or your employees into submitting a malicious request to execute unwanted actions on your website. 

For these reasons, you need to be extra serious about protecting your online store and customers. Here are five cyber safety tips to help you. 

#1: Use A Trusted E-commerce Platform 

There are plenty of e-commerce platforms out there. Yet, you shouldn’t choose the first one you find, especially when your online store’s cybersecurity is left to the hands of the e-commerce platform to protect. 

When you build your small online store on a Software-as-a-Service platform, it means that you are paying the people behind it to help you not only build and host your store but also to help you protect it from hackers and other cybersecurity threats.  

So, make sure you first look for reviews for e-commerce platforms before deciding which one will be taking care of your online store from now on. Sometimes, even if you have your small e-commerce business handled by a trusted platform like BigCommerce or Shopify, you may still add an additional plug-in to reach high-level website security. 

#2: Use A VPN When Handling Company Login Information From Home

Speaking of passwords, when handling login information like accounts and passwords from an unsecured connection like your home or public WiFi, it’s best to use a VPN. Unsecure connections are usually unencrypted, meaning that they might be exposing your data to malicious hackers. A Virtual Private Network encrypts your connection and web traffic so that when you browse the web. This is particularly useful when you’re handling sensitive login data to your company bank accounts, software accounts, or intellectual property. 

#3: Build Strong Passwords 

One of the best ways to prevent hackers from hacking your online store and stealing your customers’ personal or financial info is to use strong and complex passwords that are difficult to hack. 

Hackers and the tools they use for guessing passwords are getting smarter these days. So, your passwords should also become more complex in order to protect your accounts from being hacked. Passwords like your birthday, your dog’s name, or even worse, 1234, are out of the question! 

Keep in mind that the passwords you create are the security layer between hackers and your customers’ credit card information, address, and other personal and sensitive data. It’s best to use unique, strong passwords that are really difficult to hack. 

To create strong and hard-to-hack passwords, use upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. And, you should request your customers more complicated passwords such as:

  • Be at least eight characters in length
  • Unique than their passwords for other accounts
  • Contain capital and lower-case letters
  • Include numbers and special characters. 

Then, make sure you show your customers how strong their passwords are when opening an account on your website. 

#4: Train Your Employees 

Untrained employees may be inviting cybersecurity danger in without even knowing it. 

Employees need to understand how to keep data safe and how to deal with any potential hacking threat. For example, in the case of a CSRF vulnerability, your employees with access to your website should be properly trained to spot malicious requests and deny them. 

They should also know how to create strong passwords, as well as how to identify phishing and spam emails. What’s more, your employees should be trained on disaster recovery plans and what are the steps to take in case hackers succeed in hacking your online store and stealing customer information.

#5: Keep your online store updated 

If you’re not keeping your online store updated, you are making it an easy target for hackers. In general, cybercriminals use automated web crawlers that look for websites with unpatched applications. Make sure yours is not amongst the ones they find. To make sure of that, keep your online store and backend software updated with the latest security patches. 

Bottom line

These five cybersecurity tips for e-commerce sites can help you keep your online store safe and secure and provide great online shopping experiences to your customers. Strong passwords help protect your accounts, and a VPN can encrypt your connection and protect your online data. Keeping your online store updated with the latest security patches stops hackers from hacking it, and training your employees prevents them from inviting cybersecurity threats in.


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