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How to protect ecommerce businesses against cyberattacks

June 01, 2024
Written and researched by experts at AvadaLearn more about our methodology

By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

A report from Accenture showed that the number of security breaches increased by 67% over the past five years. Not only is the number of attacks growing but the sophistication of cybercriminals targeting organizations around the world is advancing as well.This affects businesses in all industries, but e-commerce sites are the most vulnerable to attacks.

The hacking of an online store can be a serious business problem. If your e-commerce site is not immune to hacking and fraud, then it is at risk of paying a high price for data breaches and cyberattacks. You will lose the trust and loyalty of your customers and this can tarnish your reputation.

The security of e-commerce is the state of protection of the interests of the subjects of relations who perform commercial operations (transactions) using e-commerce technologies, from threats of material and other losses.

The Biggest Security Threats to Your Ecommerce Site


1. Phishing

This cybercrime is one of the most common types of attacks. It can take many forms, but it is often a practice where a cybercriminal tries to obtain a password or other personal information by posing as a reputable source. Notably, the crime is sending an email to a web administrator or employee, that claims to be a legitimate source or service provider, or even internal communication. These misleading emails are designed to look identical to a genuine email sent from a legitimate source and often ask people to click on a link that sends them to a fake version of a familiar site so that criminals can obtain usernames and passwords.

2. Social engineering scams

Social engineering is the art of gaining access to systems or data by utilizing human psychology rather than technical hacking methods. The ultimate goal for a criminal is to gain access to data and sensitive information without leaving traces of the crime. Social engineering scams usually affect businesses when their employees fall for it. No one wants to believe that their employees will take malicious action against them, but it does happen and businesses need to be aware of it. These could be disgruntled former employees or even current employees (those with access to your system) who see an opportunity to benefit from criminal activity.

3. Malware and ransomware

Malware, meaning malicious software, typically means code developed by cyber criminals in order to attack systems. These attacks usually consist of causing damage to data and systems as well as gaining unauthorized access to networks. Malware usually arrives to victims through links or files in their emails and requires them to click and open the previously mentioned to execute the malware. Ransomware is malware that blocks users’ computers or personal files, demanding a ransom to restore access. Today, ransomware authors demand to pay a ransom in cryptocurrency or transfer a certain amount to a credit card.

4. Code injection - SQL injection

SQL injection is a common technique that attackers use to target your e-commerce site through vulnerabilities in the programs you use. SQL injection is highly effective. This is why is It is still one of the most common e-commerce website threats SQL injection is a code injection technique and a nefarious negative SEO technique that a criminal hacker can deploy to destroy your site. Attackers gain access to the backend of your database by injecting codes into vulnerable or corrupted content in said database through web page input. An example if this would be a user entering their username as an SQL statement

5. Cross-site scripting

Cross-site scripting or XSS consists of the injection of malicious code on a specific page of a website and the interaction of this code with a remote server of attackers when the user opens the page. The main purpose of cross-site scripting is to steal user cookies using a script embedded on the server with the further selection of the necessary data and use them for subsequent attacks and hacks.

11 Best Practices for Ecommerce Security


1. Use a reliable web host

Choosing the right hosting for your website is one way to protect your e-commerce site.

Some hosts are made for startups and businesses, while others are more suited for personal blogs. The former has much more safety for the store than the latter. By carefully selecting a reliable hosting provider and using modern network security testing tools, you can significantly reduce the risk of cyber attacks and protect your e-commerce site and customer data.

Before choosing a hosting, collect more information about it, choose a hosting plan that gives you more security. If necessary, read articles and reviews of various web hosts. Hosting companies usually offer these available hosting options:

  • Shared hosting;
  • Virtual server (VDS - Virtual Dedicated Server or VPS - Virtual Private Server);
  • Dedicated server.
  • The Cloud Hosting and virtual machine hosting service is also gaining popularity.
  • Unlike shared hosting and server, a dedicated server adds another layer of security to your website. A dedicated server is more protected from security breaches and other problems.

2. Use a reliable ecommerce platform

The creation of your online store on SAAS platforms partially deprives you of the independence of managing the store’s software. However, software as a service means you pay professionals to help you build, host your online store, and take care of security concerns. An excellent SaaS ecommerce provider will constantly monitor your store for security issues and take care of the technical aspects of your online store.

Good protection against cyberattacks on SaaS does not negate your inaccessibility to the store database and its backups. In fact, on SaaS, your business depends on the integrity and professionalism of the service provider. Also, implement a SPF record. SPF can prevent domain spoofing. It enables your mail server to determine when a message came from the domain that it uses. By using an SPF record, you prevent your emails from being flagged as spam or not being delivered.

3. Protecting an online store website with firewalls

Use plugins and firewall software to keep your site secure. Firewalls also protect your site from other cyber threats on the Internet, such as cross-site scripting and SQL injection.

You don’t need this protection on SaaS, but on platforms with a GPL free software license, firewalls are essential.

4. Protect your ecommerce site with SSL certificates

An SSL certificate is a public key certificate that provides authentication for a website. Thus, it allows the creation of an encrypted connection.

Typically, such certificates are associated with credit card information and transactions with common requests. Therefore, if you want to conduct any commercial activity on your site, you need an SSL certificate so that any process that takes place is safe.

In addition, SSL also gives you proof of ownership so that hackers don’t use your website as a duplicate for phishing operations.

5. Basic protection of an online store website - regular backups

Backing up your data is important. When choosing a hosting for your store, make sure it backs up regularly. It is just as important where the hosting companys stores these backups. If copies are stored on separate servers, it is safe.

However, there are most companies that ignore regular data backups. Thus, in the event of a hard drive failure, power outage or virus attack, they lose all their data.

Make sure your site is regularly backed up with a secure and remote service. If your site gets hacked or disabled, you can easily restore it. Having a backup copy of the site is the basic protection of the online store site from everything.

Duplicate hosting backups that you have no control over with your manual or configured automatic backups.

For the convenience of backing up GPL platforms, use plugins and extensions.

6. Comply with PCI regulations

When your business accepts credit or debit cards, whether they are offline or online, then you need to follow the regulations set by the PCI Security Standards Board.

These rules will ensure that any financial data stored in your business is protected. If you don’t comply with PCI regulations, you may face hefty fines and your customers’ information remains vulnerable to hackers and data breaches.

7. Use strong authorization passwords

Some people complain that they find it difficult to remember complex passwords in upper and lower case letters, special characters and numbers.

In order to protect your site, you must follow these guidelines. Your clients should do the same. These long and complex passwords might be annoying but they greatly reduce the likelihood of your site being hacked.

While your team and your clients may grumble, in the end, they will still appreciate the fact that their sensitive financial information is protected.

8. Use two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication has been created as an extra layer of protection against scams and cyber crime. It is an extra step in the login process. It will require all users to provide an additional piece of information that only they should have. This is an excellent protection for the website of the online store.

This information can be anything from a physical token to a one-time password that serves as a second confirmation for logging in.

Security technology trends indicate an increasing reliance on multi-factor authentication methods to ensure sensitive data is reliably protected.

Typically, two-factor authentication allows users to have:

  • The username and password they know;
  • A code to be sent to their phones, email, or an authenticator app.

9. Keep your site updated

On SaaS platforms, you don’t need to think about upgrading. They will do everything for you. For independent platforms, non-updatable plugins, extensions, and applications will make your ecommerce site an easy target for hackers.

Keeping your website and server software up-to-date with the latest minor security releases is one of the best and easiest steps you can take to stop an attack.

10. Train your employees

In addition to all the security tips, you should also educate your team about the laws and regulations regarding the protection of user information.

They should not in any way share information that allows entering the administrative part of the site. In addition, you should check your employees who have access to this confidential information about customers.

After the employee submits a letter of resignation, you also need to revoke all access rights to prevent non-third-party infiltration.

11. Beware of any malicious activity

Be vigilant! If you do not want any malicious activity or attack to occur on your site, you need to react to any suspicious or malicious activity.

It is good practice to use a special monitoring system that will track all your actions on the site in real-time. It will also notify you if any questionable transaction occurs.

For example, a scammer can use different types of credit cards to place multiple orders or make purchases, but he is not the original owner.


Every e-commerce business should pay extra attention to keeping their website secure. The growing sophistication of cybercriminals, as well as the availability of tools and information, means that businesses of all sizes can be vulnerable to attacks and breaches.

If you run an e-commerce site, you should ensure that you take appropriate security measures and invest in training your employees to reduce the risk of attacks.

All 11 methods and protection of the online store site mentioned above should ensure the safety of your e-commerce business.

Even a little negligence on your part will create significant risk for your business. You need to know how to protect your site from these threats and better prepare for them.

This article was contributed by Araz - a marketing executive of EasyDMARC.


Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.