Stay safe online
Chances of cyber-attacks on e-commerce sites are quite high as customers use credit/debit cards to make purchases. These sites are the obvious targets for cyber-thieves who try to steal sensitive info and find ways to get hands on your hard-earned money.
So, as an e-commerce entrepreneur, you must follow the best practices to stay safe online. You can’t take the risk of losing your business by getting your site or PC compromised.
I feel shocked to meet clients who want to earn big money by selling online and when I ask them during interaction about the anti virus they use, they would say:
‘Hum itna nahin sochte. Koi bhi lelo. Yeh sab daraane wali baten hain.
I am sorry to say but if you are not serious about online security, you should not start online business.
Be proactive to reduce your computer’s exposure to malware and to stay safe online. Gone are the days when you needed to have technical knowledge to install security measures. Now, there are companies that provide these services and will handle everything for you.
It’s your responsibility to protect the sensitive data of your customers. You need to be careful and to take measures to keep yourself, your site and your valuable customers secure because when you take risk your customers are also at risk.
Here are the steps you can take to stay safe online:
1. Keep your PC and mobile device secure
Install a good anti-virus like Kaspersky or Bitdefender to keep your PC secure or it might get infected with malware especially with spyware like key loggers that can record every keystroke.
You need to keep your mobile devices secure as well. As you will need to install mobile apps of marketplaces and other service providers to handle business on your mobile device anywhere, anytime, you have to keep it secure from hackers.
Don’t install just any anti-virus. Paid ones are always good.
As per the test reports of AV Test Lab these companies are labeled as ‘Top Products‘ :
Norton, Bitdefender, Kaspersky Lab, F-Secure, Quick Heal, Trend Micro
AhnLab, Antiy, Avast, Baidu, Bitdefender, Kaspersky Lab, Norton, ONEApp, Sophos, Tencent
These results may change. See the latest monthly test reports.
2. Use strong passwords
It’s easy to steal weak passwords and is almost impossible for anyone to crack strong passwords with more than 20 characters even by using the most sophisticated computers and software.
You can check password strength at Kaspersky’s secure password check page.
When your business starts growing you will need to create accounts on many sites but never use the same password on different sites. Your email passwords are most important because if someone hacks your email, your accounts can be accessed.
Neither Dashlane nor a hacker (or government agency) breaking into the company’s systems could access your data without knowing your master password.– Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Wall Street Journal
WordPress recommends using passphrase with combination of lowercase, uppercase, numbers and symbols.
3. Browser Settings
Your browser can be vulnerable to cyber attacks if you don’t configure its settings properly. Default settings are prone to attacks from malicious sites. Generally it’s the lack of knowledge that exposes users to different threats.
Your activity can be traced and passwords can be compromised if stored in the browser. So configure security, privacy and other settings like tracking protection in your browser.
4. Be alert to fake virus warnings
Sometimes you might notice pop-ups that encourage you to download unknown software or that says a “security scan” is taking place to fix some security problems. You should be careful enough and must ignore warnings or you might fall into the trap.
If you have a good anti-virus installed on your computer, it will detect and block such intruders helping you stay safe online.
5. Phishing mails
When you register accounts on leading websites, marketplaces or create your online store, your email address is likely to be exposed to spammers. You have to make good judgments about the messages you receive. Spammers have email addresses similar to the services you are using.
Avoid opening email attachments or downloading files unless you can verify that they came from the original source. GMail is the best service as it detects any virus in files. If you don’t need to download, transfer files in Google Drive and open there.
Also, never click on links in email messages. Safe way is to copy the link and paste it into your browser’s navigation bar. Follow the golden rule: ‘Think before you click’
6. Carefully select a safe and secure e-commerce platform or web hosting provider
If you want to open an online store, you have a choice to build fully-hosted or self-hosted store. Whatever is your choice, you need to select your service provider carefully.
Always choose a reputed platform that offers the best security features. Because, if hosting servers are compromised your site too has chances of getting hacked.
The best solutions for opening fully-hosted online store:
Best web hosts to open self-hosted online store:
7. Get SSL certificate
When customers make online transactions their login credentials and confidential information they enter (like credit card numbers), is transmitted by web browser to the website you are visiting. Normally this transmission is in plain language which hackers can intercept and steal.
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a standard security technology that ensures all the communications between your browser and the website you are visiting are encrypted and transmitted securely. SSL secured websites begin with HTTPS rather than HTTP.
Some e-commerce websites use SSL encryption during checkout process only, which is not a good practice. Most of the visitors would avoid making any transactions if they don’t see green address bar and lock icon that comes with an SSL-secured website.
That is why it becomes extremely important for every e-commerce website to get SSL for protecting confidential customer data.
If you make online store using Shopify, you will get SSL certificate as they issue and setup SSL for every store owner. And, if you plan to create a self-hosted online store, web hosts like Bluehost provide private SSL with your hosting package.
8. Choose a secure Payment gateway service
When you are running an online store, the most important and most vulnerable section is your checkout page.
As customers will enter their card details, it’s your responsibility to safeguard their personal and most important information.
So, choose your payment gateway carefully.
9. Website Security and backup
This is important to keep your websites free from any malware. If the site gets hacked and you don’t have backup all the work is gone. Can you even think of that?
If you choose self-hosted solutions like Shopify, you don’t have to bother about it. They have the measures in place. For self-hosted sites, Bluehost offers Sitelock services that scans and removes any malware and CodeGuard‘s cloud backups.
10. Read security blogs at least once a week
Read security blogs like this at least once a week.
You must keep yourself updated about the latest security threats and about the ways to stay safe online. Train your employees about online security. You may feel uncomfortable but it will pay in the long run and will help you keep yourself and your company secure from cyber criminals.
Helpful resources and articles to stay safe online: