Keep your data safe on the biggest online shopping day of the year
E-commerce, which took off during the pandemic, has continued to gain ground as the preferred way for consumers to make their purchases, with Cyber Monday heralding the biggest online shopping day of the year.
According to Adobe Analytics, Cyber Monday 2020 saw record sales, with US consumers spending $10.8 billion. Last year, consumers spent $10.7 billion, while shoppers spent an astounding $12 million per minute during peak hours between 11pm and midnight ET. Experts predict that Cyber Monday will be the biggest day for online shopping in all of 2022, making e-commerce sites crucial for businesses to reach customers during the busy holiday season.
Unfortunately, the rise of e-commerce has led to a significant increase in cybercrime. There are an average of 206,000 cyber attacks on e-commerce stores every month. Attacks on medium to large retailers have increased by almost 50% in the last two years and by almost 30% for small retailers.
Small businesses that flourished during the e-commerce boom are particularly vulnerable to data breaches and ransomware attacks. The recovery costs after a successful attack can be devastating for a small to medium-sized business. Of the small businesses attacked, nearly 60% go out of business within six months of an attack.
Protection of your e-commerce site
You can take steps to protect your e-commerce site and your customers’ credit card and personal information.
- Choose a secure web hosting/e-commerce platform. Do your due diligence and check their security procedures. Do they have regular vulnerability assessments?
- Keep security updates for your website up to date. 77% of attacks exploit holes in software that already exists on computers.
- Be careful with any tools, apps, or plugins that you allow to access your site’s data. Hackers can use third-party tools to steal data from your customers.
- Install a web application firewall to protect against hacking attempts.
- Set up regular vulnerability scans on your website to identify potential security issues.
- Limit who has admin access to your site and ensure logins are protected with multi-factor authentication. 63% of data breaches are due to weak or stolen passwords.
- Keep your security certificate up to date (HTTPS).
- Review your credit card processing agreement to understand your responsibilities under the Payment Card Industry Code (PCI-DSS).
Keeping your personal data safe
As shoppers take to the Internet, cybercriminals troll for valuable data, especially personal and financial information. Consumers must share responsibility for keeping their information safe.
An easy way for customers to protect themselves is to change their passwords. When cybercriminals try to break into a system, they will first try thousands of obvious passwords. Some of the most common and easily hacked passwords in recent years were: 123456, 111111, password and iloveyou. It only takes one weak password and the whole system is open to any hacker.
Changing your password to something more complex and updating it regularly can prevent a cybercriminal from gaining access to your information. A good password should be at least 15 characters long and contain lower and upper case letters, symbols and at least one number – the longer, the better. Use a password manager to generate and track your passwords, and use a different password for each website.
A few other tips include:
- Turn on Multi-Factor/2-Factor Authentication on email and financial accounts and don’t share your password with anyone.
- Avoid public WIFI when shopping online. Use a VPN or connect via your phone.
- Be careful about what and how much you share on social media. Hackers troll social media accounts for details like your pet’s name, where you went to high school, your sibling’s name, and other identifying facts they can use to reset your password.
- Make sure you have up-to-date anti-malware protection on your home computer.
- Check your bank and credit card statements and keep an eye out for unusual transactions. Hackers can make a small purchase to see if you notice or to test a card. Many banks also offer the option to sign up for alerts that let you know when a large purchase has been made with your account.
- Be careful when shopping from stores you are not familiar with. Do some due diligence first. Check the Better Business Bureau, look them up on Google maps to confirm the business address and check reviews.
Whether you’re an e-commerce business owner or a consumer, it’s important to be vigilant when it comes to protecting your data. Cybercrime is a lucrative business. Being aware and following these safety tips can reduce your chance of becoming a victim.
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