Certainly eCommerce is nothing new. In fact, with Ebay turning 18 this year it’s quite grown up. That said, more and more people are opting for this seemingly easier ways of buying goods to save time and energy and avoid those long lines in the shopping malls, especially during holiday seasons. With the continual surge of development in eCommerce comes an increased threat as cyber criminals develop new techniques of stealing valuable customer information from online stores.
Hardly a day goes by without the unpleasant reports of some hacker stealing credit cards and other sensitive customer data. It is reported that over 1.5 million people in the US have collectively lost several billion dollars as a result of these online scams1. However, this should not stop you from becoming the next top brand online; here are some tips to keep your business safe and secure.
CHECK THE STRENGTH OF YOUR PASSWORD
It is easy to neglect some of the most basic details such as password. I mean with all the people in the world; who can guess your cat’s name is your password? But password cracking has become far more sophisticated than simply guessing based on personal information.
Stay in control by setting up sophisticated admin passwords that will keep intruders completely locked out of your business. Poorly set up passwords could give the intruders easy access to you and your customers’ data.
Combine letters and numbers; for example a password like ‘SteveSmith’ is easily accessible compared to ‘campell389%tree’2
Also make the passwords as long 10 to 12 characters, don’t limit your characters to the given minimum allowed by your website. Most sites require a minimum of 6-8characters; make sure you extend yours for stronger password protection2.
MAKE USE OF SECURITY CERTIFICATES
The easiest and simplest way for anyone to access customer information is through the payment gateways. With a 30% increase in web-based attacks in 2012 it is more important than ever to use a secure way to conduct business online1; customers need to be assured their sensitive information is safe while paying for your services.
Secure Socket Layer [SSL] certificates are the best choice to protect your business from these online thieves. An SSL Certificate authenticates the identity of your business and encrypts the data in transit; also customers are able to establish the authenticity of the website they are on. SSL certificates use live address verification services1 that ensure validity of the given address online and the customer’s credit card information from their credit card company. Easily stop fraudulent activities and install the SSL, in fact go the extra mile and integrate the even stronger EV SSL [Extended Validation Secure Socket Layer] certificate. If you have multiple domains, then the Wildcard SSL Certificate is perfect for you.
Remember to update your SSL annually to be safe from online theft.
GET RID OF SENSITIVE DATA
If you keep unnecessary customer data you are at risk of exposing yourself and your customers to online crime; for instance credit card numbers, expiration dates and Card Verification Value Codes. These are strictly forbidden.Clear out old data base information and keep just enough information for possible refunds or charge-backs.
INSTALL ENCRYPTION SOFTWARE
Another way of keeping customers information safe is by installing encryption software2 that allows for immediate encryption of data after any form of transaction. Poor encryption services are an easy target for hackers and information can be tracked simply by typing the name or invoice number of the customer.
FINALLY DON’T IGNORE SHOPPING CART SECURITY
The greatest desire for any store is to see the ‘add to cart’ list growing steadily.Instill confidence in your customers by beefing up security through a thorough daily check of the shopping cart software2 and keeping it up to date…yes, I said daily! Use of outdated cart software could lead to devastating results. Keep your software up to date by installing patches regularly.
In conclusion, I think the best tip is always stay updated. Reason is that hackers are always devising means to crack-down any software on the market. Old software has known security flaws which are very easy to exploit: so always keep your system up to date.