Customer data is considered highly valuable by just about all businesses. Customers are typically required to give their information in exchange for tailored services. And with more customers shopping online, the amount of customer data exchanged keeps growing daily.
According to one source, about 328.77 million TB (terabytes) of data is created daily. But unfortunately, there are a ton of criminals out there who are also interested in this data, which is made up of addresses, credit card numbers, and telephone numbers.
SEMRush estimates that in 2015, at least half a billion personal records were lost to cyber attacks such as phishing, malware, hacking, and whaling.
And because cybersecurity attacks lead to an unprecedented loss for both customers and businesses, it’s important to prioritize security even as you build your ecommerce website.
In this article, we’ll explore essential features you should consider adopting to protect customer data when building a secure e-commerce website.
But first, let's get a better understanding of the threats that e-commerce websites face.
How Do Fraudsters Attack E-Commerce and Online Digital Retailers?
Account Takeover or Registration of Multiple Accounts
The first case involving fraud of digital accounts involves account takeover, where fraudsters look for buyers, purchase the product for them, and take all the loyalty or bonus points for themselves.
Fraudsters typically gain unauthorized access to user accounts by illegally obtaining login credentials through phishing or brute-force attacks to compromise these accounts.
Chargeback fraud occurs when a buyer intentionally purchases from an e-commerce site but later disputes the charges, citing a fraud case. This leads the ecommerce website to refund the payment, losing out on money and possibly incurring chargeback fees.
Stolen Credit Card Information
Cybercriminals illegally acquire credit card details belonging to customers on ecommerce platforms. They do so by data breaches, implanting malware, skimming attacks, phishing attacks, and ‘man-in-the-middle attacks.’
Essential Features For Protecting Customer Data When Building an E-Commerce Website
Businesses and customers must take preventative measures to mitigate the risk of data breaches through phishing attacks, stolen credit card information, and malware.
Here are some preventative measures you should consider adopting when building your ecommerce website.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate
Have you ever seen a ‘padlock’ icon next to the URL in an address bar? This shows that SSL technology is protecting the website you are visiting.
An SSL certificate is a digital ‘authorisation’ that authenticates a website’s identity and, in the process, provides an encrypted connection. This technology provides an encrypted link between a web server and a browser meaning any unauthorized parties cannot intercept or decipher the information being passed through.
In other words, companies and ecommerce sites need to add SSL certificates to their websites to provide secure online transactions. This technology also keeps customer information private and secure.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Have you ever visited a website that required you to choose images similar to each other such as traffic lights, buses, or bridges? Maybe the site also asked you to answer a secret question that only you know.
This is a form of multi-factor authentication. It is also used interchangeably with two-factor authentication. It’s an added layer of security that prompts users to provide two
or more forms of authentication, such as fingerprints, graphic patterns, numeric codes, or secret questions, before accessing their accounts.
As an ecommerce site, it would be in your best interest to add this layer of security to your website to protect customer accounts.
A rule of thumb when implementing MFA is to select one-time codes from an authenticator app or system. And not only that but consider a FIDO U2F hardware key for those valuable accounts.
Secure Payment Gateways
Most customers today perform their financial transactions online. In fact, a recent survey showed that 91% of people regularly use online banking services. However, 62% of them encountered at least one attempt of fraud or scam.
For this reason, you should strongly consider adopting reputable and secure payment gateways to minimize the risk of storing sensitive user information, such as credit card details, on your website. The popular ones include PayPal Stripe and Authorize.Net.
Enable Users to Auto-Generate Strong Passwords
Promoting good password hygiene is one of the best security measures you can adopt as an e-commerce site. Many users with online accounts find it easier to use the same password for different accounts.
However, once hackers have stolen the used usernames and passwords, they can be applied to various services and, in the process, lead to widespread fraud. And like a director of security once said, ‘even if your site has perfect security, your weakest link could be your customers.’
For this reason, you should consider ‘forcing’ your users to generate complex passwords, coupled with the two-factor authentication as discussed above.
And while you're at it, you could also encourage your customers to use a VPN when browsing and shopping online. VPNs have helped ecommerce sites protect user data by providing additional security and privacy.
Top VPNs like NordVPN and Surf Shark ensure that all data transmitted between the two endpoints is encrypted and protected from interception by fraudsters or cybercriminals.
Immediate Recognition of Synthetic Accounts
Immediate recognition of synthetic accounts is an important feature that all ecommerce sites should have. As discussed above, such accounts are created by fraudsters and use a combination of real and fabricated information.
To implement immediate recognition of synthetic accounts effectively, ecommerce sites can utilize various strategies and tools such as advanced analytics and machine learning, data verification, and authentication.
Building a secure ecommerce website is vitally important as it impacts the protection of customer data. There are a ton of security features that you should consider adopting as an ecommerce site owner, especially when building your site.
These security features include using SSL certificates, multifactor authentication systems, secure payment gateways, VPNs, encouraging users to generate strong passwords, and systems that immediately recognize synthetic accounts.
But one feature that flies under the radar involves web design. Although it’s not categorized as a security feature, a great web design contributes to a secure and trustworthy customer experience, indirectly influencing customer data protection.
And for this reason, we recommend checking out Refresh Ideas, as it provides complete secure web solutions for different types of businesses, including secure web design solutions for e-commerce sites.
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