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By Chester Avey
Wed | Oct 12, 2022 | 4:16 AM PDT

It is sadly the case that ecommerce cybercrime is on the rise. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated and use a huge range of different techniques against their victims, making headlines around the world.

As cybercriminals do seem to be taking a keener interest in the industry, it is up to owners of ecommerce businesses to be extra vigilant about cybercrime and put appropriate defenses in place to keep the company secure.

In this article, we will take a look at how and why ecommerce companies are being targeted by cybercriminals and what they can do about it.

Major risks for online retailers

There are a number of different types of cybercrime that can be extremely damaging to ecommerce businesses. Having a good understanding of these types of attacks can help you to manage the risks associated with them.

  • Phishing — Still probably the most familiar form of cybercrime to the majority of people, phishing involves sending malicious emails that convince the receiver to click a bogus link and enter their credentials. It should be noted that both employees and customers can be targeted with phishing emails, and having a compromised email system is not ideal.
  • Ransomware — Another worryingly common type of cybercrime, ransomware is malware that locks a user out of their system and threatens the deletion of data if a "ransom" is not paid. Given that this data might constitute the details of a significant number of customers and orders, ecommerce companies can find this attack devastating.
  • Compliance — One risk that relates to ecommerce cybercrime is compliance. Data protection laws such as the CCPA and GDPR place harsh penalties and fines on those companies that do not protect customer data appropriately.

What new ecommerce businesses need to know

It cannot be overstated just how much of an impact COVID-19 has had on businesses around the world. However, out of the huge challenges, there has been a rise in the number of companies investing in the ecommerce side of their business. Of course, this has been good news for those companies that have had success, but it has made the issue of cybercrime all the more pressing.

With so many businesses rushing to set up their company with ecommerce capacities, the care and attention that are needed to keep businesses free from cybercrime have not always been present. Indeed, the rush to get this aspect of the business running led in many cases to bad practices to be followed.

Ultimately, this means that there are many new ecommerce companies currently operating that simply don't have the basic cybersecurity measures in place to keep them secure.

When ecommerce is a valuable target

The reality of the situation is that ecommerce companies are now seen as easy targets for cybercriminals. This is due to the fact that many ecommerce businesses don't have the kind of security in place that they need, and also because of the kind of data and money that ecommerce companies process every day.

The majority of cybercriminals are simply looking for data that they can sell or money that they can take, while others have a focus that is closer to extorting companies via attacks such as ransomware, as discussed above. In any case, whenever cybercriminals consider an industry an easy target, the onus goes on that industry to put in the effort to get powerful cybersecurity in place.

Why cybercrime can even damage your SEO

One aspect of cybercrime that isn't examined as much as it should be is the effect of data breaches and hacking incidents on your search engine optimization (SEO). Many ecommerce businesses put in an awful lot of effort and budget for their digital marketing and SEO services, but the reality is that suffering a cyber incident can be extremely damaging to that work.

One issue that cybercrime can cause relating to SEO is downtime. When you suffer a breach, it is natural that you will need downtime to find the problem and fix it. This isn't too much of a problem if the site is only down for a matter of minutes, but "when your site is offline for hours or even days at a time, you will start to see significant reductions in your ranking positions."

Another key way that cybercrime affects SEO is that it can lead to negative reviews of your site on Google, which has the potential to push you down in the rankings. Worse is when Google notices that your site has been hacked and displays a "hacked site" warning.

How ecommerce companies can defend themselves

There are many ways that ecommerce companies can invest in their cybersecurity measures and keep themselves protected. Here are two:

  • Multi-factor authentication — MFA involves requiring users to log into a system with more than just a single credential, such as a password. MFA might require other identifiers such as a passcode or a message sent to a mobile phone.
  • Regular testing — It is vital that companies invest in high-quality testing of their defenses. Putting cybersecurity measures in place is essential, but it is also vital to ensure that they are tested and kept up to date.