Top E-Commerce Security Threats

Top E-Commerce Security Threats - Cybergate

Top E-Commerce Security Threats

5 main Cyber threats for your E-Commerce website

One of the most popular activities on the Internet is by far shopping. One can shop 24×7 from anywhere. E-commerce was launched in the early nineties (although the first traces of electronic funds transfer and electronic data interchange date back to the 70s) when the world wide web was opened for commercial use – since then hundreds of thousands of businesses have developed and launched websites displaying and selling their goods and services. Nowadays, e-commerce exists in various forms and shapes namely, B2B, B2C and B2G.

It has much allure in it – people can compare product attributes and shop at their leisure from the comfort of their home. In fact, some of the world’s biggest businesses are actually e-commerce merchants and retailers, such as Amazon and eBay.

The e-commerce industry experiences up to 32.4% of all successful cyber threats annually!

E-commerce cyber security threats cause havoc in online trading, with hackers targeting e-commerce platforms, their integration to back-office inventory and logistics systems, interfaced payment gateways, users and administrators.

In this article we touch upon the five most common e-commerce cyber threats.

Financial Frauds – Use of Stolen Credit Card Details

With billions of dollars transacted every month and millions of regular web users (buyers) the e-commerce space is an attractive one for hacker groups from all over the world. Cyber criminals use stolen credit card data to purchase products on various e-commerce sites. They maliciously use different shipping and billing addresses to seem as ‘real’ as possible. These black-hat activities can be curbed by implementing identity and address verification systems.


This social engineering way of stealing data or funds is a common way fraudsters attack e-business. E-shop customers are sent messages and emails from hackers presenting themselves to be legitimate e-store representatives. Such hackers present fake copies of emails or web landing pages to ask for credit card details, login credentials and request payments. Phishing emails are increasingly being engineered in such a way that they seem harmless and authentic.


Black hat hackers send and place infected links via email, blog post commenting functionality or social media inboxes – on click, these links direct web users to their spam websites. Spamming can get your web-store black listed by Google; it will also slow the site’s speed and negatively affect its performance and security rating. Reputation will (definitely!) be at risk.


Malware is software designed by cyber-criminals with the goal of gaining access and/or inflicting damage to a system. These pieces of software are inserted into websites through a number of techniques like dangling S3 buckets and SQL injection. Commonly, malware allows hackers to take control of computer systems, gain access to data, send emails on your behalf (without you knowing!) and spoof identities.

Needless to say, web e-stores should be protected by firewalls, anti virus software, monitoring applications and other security measures.

Exploitation of Vulnerabilities

Hackers are constantly on the lookout for vulnerabilities so they can attack and infiltrate. Common vulnerabilities include: Open Source Plugin or Core vulnerabilities (for example in WordPress and Drupal) and lack of hardening which makes an e-shop vulnerable to injection attacks such as SQL injection and Cross-site scripting (known as XSS).

Hackers attack vulnerabilities in plugins which were not yet patched by the website owner. These criminals also attack query submission forms to access databases (which would then in turn be injected with infectious code). In addition to the above other common cyber threats include distributed denial of service (DDoS), bad neighbourhood in shared hosting, DNS hijacking, brute force attacks, scraper bots and placement of viruses and spyware on e-commerce websites.

Once you know more about the wide array of threats in e-commerce, your business can take the necessary steps to protect and defend against attacks and mitigate the potential damage.

Do the right thing, both for your business and for clients, take precautions to ensure you have a secure platform that offers a smooth and frictionless online shopping experience. Start with a thorough penetration testing phase of your: website, e-shop, back-office system/s, cloud hosting, APIs and payment gateway interface.

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    francesco mifsud cybergate your cyber security partner
    Francesco Mifsud
    [email protected]

    I live and breathe cyber security and everything else in the discipline. With around a decade of experience in the industry I have had the opportunity to develop skills in penetration testing, cloud security, reverse engineering & exploit development, application security engineering, management and organisation-wide cyber security strategy. I hold a well-rounded set of security certifications such as OSCP, eWPTX and CISSP and have delivered training & workshops at some of the most prestigious hacking conferences such as DEF CON, BRU CON, BSides London and BSides Manchester.