Ecommerce Security | A Beginner’s Guide

A Look at E-Commerce Security

Security is critical when you are doing business over the Internet. As Sony and other businesses that experienced recent online security breaches can confirm, faulty e-commerce security can significantly damage your brand image. All it takes is one well-publicized hacking case for consumers to shy away from doing business with you in the future. Worse, a hacker could steal important data and sensitive information that puts your business in a compromising position. As a consideration of the scenarios demonstrates, e-commerce security has ramifications for both businesses and customers. Fortunately, there are many security features at the disposal of businesses to ward off would-be hackers. And you might have heard of many of these features, like SSL, EV SSL, and PCi. Yet, if you’re new to the conversation on online service, you might wonder what these terms mean. This guide will clarify these terms and discuss what each of these security measures mean to your business.


Understanding SSL

SSL has been around since 1994, yet unless you are well versed in the topic of online security, you might not understand what it means. Simply put, SSL is a method of encrypting data, such as credit card numbers and social security numbers. When you visit a website, you can tell from the “https” address, which accompanied by the image of a lock, that the website is secured through SSL. The web browser plays the primary role in encrypting data that is sent through an SSL-protected page. The typical encryption for a website is 40- or 128-bit encryption. However, the browser works in conjunction with commercial websites to encrypt data. The SSL can be thought of as a facilitator in the encryption process between the web browser and the commercial website.

What SSL Means for Your Business

Because web browsers cannot work alone to encrypt all of the data that is sent through a website, businesses have to step in. When you are building your website, you must ensure that your site will provide adequate encryption to keep sensitive information safe from unauthorized third-parties. To ensure the security of your site, you must obtain an SSL certificate. The SSL certificate also verifies the validity of the site to consumers by verifying that your business, the certificate holder, is representing itself accurately on its webpage. This prevents scam artists from establishing phishing sites that mimic commercial websites in an attempt to lure people into providing their credit card information. The second benefit of obtaining certification is that it enables you to increase the encryption capabilities of your site to 128-bit encryption. The best way to obtain an SSL certificate is to purchase a certificate from an authorized vendor. By taking this step, you can boost the security of your site by verifying its authenticity and enhancing the encryption features on your site.


What is EV SSL?


Extended Validation SSL, known as EV SSL, is similar to SSL because it also allows you to confirm the identity of your web site. Though SSL was developed during the 1990s, the EV SSL was first introduced in 2007 as an upgrade to the SSL Certificate. The main change is that the EV SSL adopted new methods of verifying the identity of online businesses to increase security. These updates were necessary because of the high incidents of phishing sites that found ways to work around SSL security. It is likely that you have visited a site that is protected by EV SSL security. When a website is verified through EV SSL, the address bar on the visitor’s browser turns green in indication that the site is secure.

What EV SSL Means for Your Business

EV SSL provides a high degree of protection when security is a high priority. Businesses that regularly collect credit card information from consumers should especially consider EV SSL. By obtaining an EV SSL Certificate, businesses demonstrate to customers that they’ve created the highest level of security. The service also provides consumers with peace of mind because it requires commercial sites to undergo a stricter identity authentication process to confirm the legitimacy of their site. The value of these measures is that it makes it extremely difficult for phishing cites to bypass these measures. Further, the increased security benefits your business by ensuring that a higher number of individuals will complete their online transactions. Taking the time to get certified not only secures your site, but it also boosts sales by showing consumers that your site can be trusted.

Directory Traversal Attacks


What is a Directory Traversal Attack?

Accurately control access to web content is critical for running a secure web server. Directory Traversal is an HTTP exploit which allows attackers to access restricted directories and execute commands outside of the web server’s root directory.

Access Control Lists (ACLs) need to be setup right and assigning the right access to the authenticated users is important. Poor ACLs, can lead to a disaster, assign the right access to Anonymous web user vs the Web Master is critical to securing your web server. Since your web server is accessed users in the public domain, it is highly prone to attacks by hackers, and anybody who is intent stealing or disrupting your Web server, and hence your ecommerce business.

Strict control of the ACLs and the Root Directory permissions is mandatory, and is the bench mark for any successful implementation of ecommerce website.


An Overview of PCi

Learn about PCI Security Compliance

The term PCi is shorthand for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, or PCi DSS. It was created by Visa in 2001 and provides another security option for keeping data secure and putting businesses and consumers at ease. PCi was significant to promoting e-commerce because it enacted industry standards for online merchants on how to properly protect store credit card data. Further, PCi is comprehensive by outlining specifically how information should be handled at all stages of a transaction, including when it being stored and transmitted. A main benefit of PCi is that it allows businesses to prevent credit card information from being stolen by unauthorized third parties. The standards are updated to reflect the best practices for keeping sensitive credit card data secure and enhancing Ecommerce security.


About PCi Compliance

There are several standards commercial sites must meet in order to be PCi compliant. Among those standards are maintaining a firewall, using security parameters that exceed the default standards, and restricting who can access credit card data. For smaller businesses, remaining PCi compliant can require significant resources. Becoming a PCi provider should not be taken lightly because failure to comply with standards imposes significant consequences.  Businesses that fail to maintain the standards can be subject to lawsuits and fines up to $500,000 per incident. However, the trust that compliance builds with consumers is well worth the cost. In combination with SSL or EV SSL, businesses can use these e-commerce security measures to boost the confidence of online shoppers and greatly increase completed credit card transactions on their websites.

SQL Injection: What is it?

SQL Injection is one of the many web attack methods used by hackers to steal data from businesses. It is one most common application layer attack techniques used today. It is the type of attack that takes advantage of improper coding and poor security architecture of your web applications that allows hacker to inject SQL commands via a login form to allow them to gain access to the data held within your database.

Basically, SQL Injection arises because the fields available for user input allow SQL statements to pass through and query the database directly.

SQL Injection: Detailed Explanation

SQL Injection is a hacking technique that exploits the weak, poorly architected ecommerce applications, or ecommerce Websites or SAAS applications.  The vulnerability lies in exposing the databases that are used in dynamic web applications. SQL injection is the technique which attempts to pass SQL (statements) through a web application for execution by the backend database. Unprotected systems can be victims of SQL injection, which can lead to destroying databases, corrupting databases, Web application, Websites and exposing confidential data.

Rigorous ACLs (Access Control Lists) to databases, regular proactive security patches updates, and monitoring security patches can prevent seriously data breaches and data loss.

Such features as login pages, support and product request forms, feedback forms, search pages, shopping carts and the general delivery of dynamic content, shape modern websites and provide businesses with the means necessary to communicate with prospects and customers. These website features are all examples of web applications which may be either purchased off-the-shelf or developed as custom-built programs.

The ability to input data via login, product forms, and registration forms allow SQL statements to pass through and query the database directly.

Posted in: eCommerce Integration

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