The eCommerce industry has taken the world by storm. The widespread availability of smartphones and most of the world now having access to the internet are factors which have influenced the spread of online retailing.
The industry has been predicted to be worth as much as $24.3 trillion by 2025. The number of digital buyers is expected to be around $1.92 billion. By the end of the year, e-commerce will be responsible for 13.7% of all retail activity which takes place around the world.
The growth figures are equally impressive, but all is not as good as it sounds.
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The internet is general and eCommerce, in particular, has brought a lot of convenience into our lives. However, they have also opened a window for sophisticated criminal activities over the digital airwaves. Criminal activities over the cyberspace have grown at an alarming rate in recent years. From the minor invasion of privacy to full-blown hacks involving the theft of sensitive data, these activities have caused trillions of worth in damages. Alongside the eCommerce industry, cybercrimes are surging too. By 2021, the losses caused by them will amount to $6 trillion.
These figures include damages to household owners and businesses alike but the latter make up the bulk. Using sophisticated tools and techniques, hackers are growing more powerful every day. Businesses today rely heavily on the internet and other programs to increase efficiency and make customer experiences better. While the digital evolution was embraced wholeheartedly not many were prepared for the harmful things that came with it. As a result, cybercrime took the world by surprise. Now there is evidence to support the fact that things are changing.
The internet can be best explained using simple real-world analogies. The cyberspace which is being threatened today is like a neighbourhood of houses. All the devices on the internet connect to other devices at some point. In business environments, there are a lot of systems communicating with each other. This gives rise to cyberspace. Cybercrimes are when unauthorized elements gain access to this space and start manipulating the data flowing or stored there. This can include sensitive customer information as well as company financial records. What hackers can do with this information is extremely dangerous.
Types of threats
There are several different types of cyber crimes which have surfaced over the past few years. Unfortunately, some of the biggest names in the industry have fallen victim to them. This includes the likes of IBM and Facebook. The former came under a ransomware attack during the previous year while the latter recently revealed that hackers had breached their servers and stolen data belonging to millions of customers. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The types of threats being faced are unprecedented and evolving. Here are a few cybercrimes which will continue to plague businesses in the years to come:
Ransomware: As the name indicates, it is the process of holding information for ransom. Hackers use simple elements like email attachments or links shared through various platforms to gain access to systems on business cyberspace. Once they are in, they encrypt certain information. Users don’t realize that ransomware has infected their device until its too late. The criminals then ask for payments in exchange for the safe release of the files they are holding. Ransomware removal tools are almost non-existent at the moment,
Data theft: Using Personally Identifiable Information on the business-to-customer channels, cybercriminals can gain access to an array of user information. This is one of the simpler forms of hacking. Still, it doesn’t make any less harmful. This data can be stolen and used against both the business and its customers individually. The same process can also be followed to obtain information pertaining to private matters of the business too. The price for the respective consequences is quite high,
Personally Identifiable Information (PII): Using the same data stolen from various channels which can identify different customers, hackers can perform several activities, even financial transactions. For business, this is a huge risk and customers suffer from it too.
There are several other means by which cybercriminals can infect business cyberspaces and cause monumental damages. These attacks are happening and their methods are changing faster than we have the ability to adapt to them. This makes defence quite fragile. Knowing the threats which businesses are dealing with is only half the process, the real fight comes afterwards and the levels of preparedness in businesses is at different levels.
Are businesses prepared?
Until a few years ago it was safe to say that none of the businesses and even websites online were prepared for cybercrimes on a wider scale. Although simple hacking has been around for many years, it was never as threatening as it is today. The events in 2018 when the corporate world experienced some of the biggest attacks ever due to ransomware, brought to light the extent of lack in preparation. Some of the leading companies have since then put up robust security measures but it still estimated that numbers are low. Major corporations have the financial muscle to implement large scale changes but this is not true for smaller businesses.
According to a recent survey, 38% of businesses admitted that they were unprepared for a large scale cyber attack like ransomware for instance. This also includes multi-national companies but most of them are medium or small-scale entities. The lack of preparation in this segment can be attributed to a number of factors. This includes the high costs of acquiring the security infrastructure and low levels of awareness about the situation too. The statistics are worrying because the threats are growing faster than the business they infect. A random cyberattack can cost companies an average of $5 million dollars and it takes them 191 days to detect. These numbers show that businesses today lack the level of preparedness that they should ideally have.
What makes eCommerce more vulnerable than others?
Online retail or eCommerce is a hub for all kinds of transactions and therefore it is a haven for hackers. They have the greatest options from personal information for marketing purposes to financial data. The users’ privacy is under threat for many reasons. Moreover, most eCommerce platforms are small which means that they don’t have the resources to invest in state-of-the-art security tools. This makes the industry one with the highest number of attacks at 32.4%. Financial institutions follow in at number two with 25.7% of all cyber attacks targeting them.
Most eCommerce platforms realize the importance of security measures to protect themselves and the customers they serve but they are unable to find solutions which are affordable and reliable at the same time. That being said, there are other businesses which still use outdated systems and programs to run their operations. This exposes them to enormous risks because of poorly designed networks, lack of adequate IT support, vague policies and unsecured connections for both B2B and B2C communications. Hackers have the ability to manipulate these weaknesses quite easily and this is why they prefer to target eCommerce sites. It’s like a one-stop shop for all their needs.
How to patch security loopholes
Hackers are taking advantage of the lack of relevant knowledge in the field to cause damages to online retailers. These elements are looking for login credentials, customer private information and financials for the companies themselves. They gain entry to the system through the most underrated channels which is email. It is estimated that 90% of all malware is delivered through email. Inexperienced and untrained employees contribute to be the biggest security risks for companies. They open attachments and links without proper considerations causing system breaches which are not detected until it is too late.
Here are a few ways in which eCommerce sites can close security breach windows:
Meet compliance requirements: One of the biggest pieces of legislation to come out recently is the GDPR. It governs the rules for online privacy and complying with these rules can make companies less susceptible to cyber-attacks. Companies have reported spending millions of dollars on implementation of these rules but they have their benefits which can contribute to recovering the costs easily. Not just international legislation but meeting local ones is also a great way for businesses to protect themselves,
Use updated systems and programs: The latest versions of operating systems and hardware are responsible for a great deal of protection from data breaches. The developing teams behind most of the platforms have their own elaborate security mechanisms which also benefit the smaller businesses using them. These service providers usually have the capacity to implement robust security measures which businesses can’t on their own. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship,
Using a business VPN: Virtual Private Networks are one of the best and most affordable solutions for small businesses. eCommerce sites can purchase these subscriptions for costs which are much lower than that of revamping entire system installations. This makes them a solution to an ongoing problem.
Using a VPN
VPN’s are becoming quite popular in recent years. They were initially targeted towards household users but as the needs expand, solutions are also being introduced for businesses like eCommerce websites. An online retailer performs all of its operations while being connected to the internet. This means that they are open to all kinds of threats especially if they are a small business. This includes spam, phishing, malware and not to forget ransomware. One of the primary factors behind these attacks is that the network connections of the business are unprotected. With a VPN, this is effectively taken care of.
Ivacy provides a customized business solution for eCommerce website needs. The service comes with all the features which are included in the standard tool but also comes with more enhanced encryption and support for handling higher data volumes. For those who are new to the concept of a VPN, it is a program which serves as a masking instrument for your network connection. Instead of sending data packets directly to the ISP from your computer, the VPN encrypts the data and reroutes it through their dedicated servers. As a result, the internet service provider and any other people spying on your connection see the location of the VPN and not your actual location.
What level of protection does a VPN provide?
Ivacy’s business VPN service provides a number of exciting functions to eCommerce websites. Besides securing the network connection, it provides encryption for user data being sent over it. There is extensive support for various protocol including IPv6. Thus, there is no fear of visiting any website altogether as the protection is comprehensive. There are thousands of servers to choose from and spread throughout the world, they provide substantial coverage to eCommerce platforms in establishing secure network connections.
The solution is ideal for small businesses and helps the whole team connect securely. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the office or travelling, Ivacy has coverage everywhere. Most importantly, Ivacy has a strict no logging policy so any information sent to the servers is not recorded for any reason whatsoever. The data is encrypted at source in 256-bit military-grade protection. This ensures that all the data remains inaccessible to hackers spying on the system and connection. Ivacy’s corporate business solutions also assign multiple IPs to an organization which can be distributed throughout the staff. This plays an important role in keeping them safe from threats.
eCommerce will remain a target for hackers in the future and as their tactics evolve, businesses have to do the same. Without proper security measures, cybercriminals have a field day. The problems are so intense that 60% of small businesses don’t survive for more than six months after the episode. This is why effective protection is essential. For businesses who can’t invest in large infrastructures, Ivacy’s business VPN provides a safe and credible way out. With optimized features to serve corporate needs, the solutions help eCommerce platforms to worry about their customers and logistics while Ivacy handles security in the background.
Published on May 13, 2019