Cyber Security and Ecommerce: The Causes of Attack and How to Protect Yourself

17 Apr 2018 7 min read

It’s now easier than ever to start an online business and connect with a global audience. But with the convenience of the digital era also comes the very real possibility of cyber attack and breach of personal data, whether it’s your business’, your clients’, or your own. To help you understand and protect your business from the risks of operating online, we’ve teamed up with one of our payment partners, eWAY, to bring you the first in a series of articles on security, payments and fraud-protection.

Would you be prepared if your business came under cyber attack today? For most retailers out there, the answer is ‘no’. In fact, in a Hiscox study of 3,000 companies, it was estimated that over half (53%) were inadequately prepared to handle attack.

With a growing prevalence of cyber-attacks not just in ecommerce but across the board, investing in preventing, detecting and training to protect your business against cyber attack is more important than ever. But the good news is that it’s not difficult to do so and

The earlier you begin to actively secure your online business information, the greater chance you have of avoiding costly interruptions to business, maintaining your brand and customer loyalty, and securing new customers.

Why is Cyber-Crime Detection So Important?

As we transition into a world driven by technology, it doesn’t come as a surprise that cyber-crime continues to grow in numbers, form and who is being targeted. Detection, unfortunately, is all too often all too late—businesses only become aware of an attack once it’s already happened and the cost of cyber attack extends further than the missed revenue from your site being down or fraudulent payments; it’s also the potential damage to your brand (which is sometimes more costly in the long term).

So, when we’re talking cyber-attacks and security, prevention is better than a cure.

For online retailers to maintain a safe and secure business, you need to understand these three things:

  • The causes of attack
  • The implications on daily operations, and
  • How to build effective preventative measures.

The Causes of Attack

According to research published in the International Journal of Information Computation & Technology, six of the main causes of cyber-crime are as follows:

1. Ease of access

In the attempt to secure a system from unauthorised access, these violations could include stealing access codes, pins, recorders and other information that could be used to bypass a firewall or get past a security system.

2. Cyber hoaxes

Usually carried out in a threat or attempt to damage another’s reputation, cyber hoaxes can take the form of scam emails and content (emails, links, etc.) containing virus-infected material.

3. Negligence

Not paying attention or being thorough in protecting your system, leaving vulnerabilities open to attack by cyber criminals.

4. Revenge or motivation

Actions carried out with a desire to both inflict loss to the victim, while profiting from the benefits. Negligence in this sense refers to hacking into ecommerce, e-banking or conducting fraud transactions.

5. Poor law enforcing bodies

Due to a lack of clear cyber laws, many cyber-crime perpetrators get away without being punished.

6. Cyber-crime committed for publicity or recognition

Cyber-crime committed under the guise of a cause gives people a global platform to spread their opinion.

What Are the Implications of Cyber Attack on Ecommerce Businesses?

The average cost of cyber-crime attack to a business sits at around $276,323, according to data accrued by the Australian Government’s Stay Smart Online Initiative, and although big businesses are often the ones we hear about in the media, small and medium businesses aren’t immune.

As we mentioned before the implications of cyber-attack are far reaching:

  • Disruption to business operations during rectification period
  • High probability of having to take website offline (and lost sales)
  • Loss of business credibility and brand trust
  • Reduced customer retention

While being online offers a world of benefits, it also offers customers the opportunity to instantly spread the word about their experience to a worldwide audience through social media. And, even if the customer isn’t directly impacted, if your ecommerce store has been the victim of an attack, this can leave a long-lasting impression on your business.

So how can you prevent it? Read on.

IT Cyber Security and Preventative Measures

Just as important as the causes behind cybercrime is the solution: attitudes towards cybercrime detection need to change.

Successful online business owners accept that when online, everyone is a target, no individual or business is too small.

Cyber-crime prevention is more than just a regular change of password – it’s a vital investment for your business. Here are some simple steps you can take to help protect your business from or in the event of an IT cyber security attack:

1. Back up your data regularly

A good backup system generally includes daily backups to a cloud or portable storage device, weekly server back-ups, and both quarterly and yearly back-ups. If using a portable storage device, it’s a good idea to keep this in an offsite location and be sure to regularly review and test your backups.

2. Install security software

Firewall security that includes anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-spam filters can help avoid and protect your software from attacks.

3. Monitor computer and system usage

Keep a record of all computers and software used by your business.

4. Educate and inform

Educate employees about the importance of IT cyber security, as well as the importance of safe storage for sensitive and confidential information.

5. Keep sensitive information safe

Encrypt your data if storing online to ensure only approved users can access it. This reduces the risk of theft, hacking and information tampering.

6. Change your passwords regularly

Alongside using a strong password (combined with numbers, letters and symbols), be sure to update your passwords every few months. Your dog’s name is no longer acceptable, and please don’t use the same password for everything!

Final Word

When taking the next step to financially investing in IT cyber security, you need to consider whether you want to take an active part in your business security or share some of the burden with trusted providers. As a business owner, staying up to date with the latest in cyber crime preventing may be daunting. Large hosted ecommerce platforms and specialised payment gateway providers take away a lot of the worry as they have the scale to invest in advanced cyber crime detection and prevention to secure your transactions and payments.

Do you want to take control of your ecommerce business from the ground up? Neto provides a complete solution for ecommerce, POS, inventory, fulfilment and secure payments. And if you’re looking to optimise your online payments and improve security, eWAY powers 1 in 4 eRetail payments nationwide and gives Neto merchants in-built fraud protection, fast settlement and 24 hour, local support—all for a low per transaction rate.

Fill in the form below to speak to one of the team at eWAY about their competitive rates or check out our recent webinar to learn more.