“To err is human”, a phrase we’ve heard quite often, while everyone in this world awaits robots to take over all of humanity, humans in this day and age presently use the same bots to pose a threat to society.
The vast technological advancements and tech-savvy individuals have contributed to the increase of consumption of e-commerce marketplaces. Moreover, the pandemic has also played a major factor in increasing the profit margins of small businesses and e-commerce giants due to the increased dependency on daily essentials and entertainment needs.
While the online marketplace has helped cover wide gaps of need fulfillment and employment generation, it has also created an ecosystem of opportunities for the dark web developers to gain access and misuse said information as the risk in online transactions are increasing everyday.
To gain access and misuse consumer data is one of the biggest threats to cyber securities, these threats are man-made and performed by bots, where the bots are programmed at the mercy of these developers who use them to extract or mine out information from different websites. These bots use the technique of different combinations until they hit the right one and help the developer access private credentials which they will then misuse to extract revenue.
In this article, we will discuss the details about different e-commerce threats and what you can do as a consumer as well as a business owner to help prevent these threats.
As an advancing e-commerce business, your responsibilities keep on increasing as well. You are not only responsible for expanding your business but also responsible for the protection of data your customers provide. However, there are some significant threats that can pose possible harm to your E-commerce marketplace as well as your customer’s private data.
Bots are automated software applications that are programmed to perform certain tasks. Just like a coin, bots also have two sides. There are good bots that enhance search optimization to provide insightful results while hosting multiple other programs. Bad bots are inserted by developers to mimic human behaviour across websites to extract information or create malware attacks. They “interpret” human behaviour. According to statistics gathered in 2018 bad bots accounted for almost 1/5th of the e-commerce traffic. Here are some of the ways they can attack the system:
- Account takeover attacks: Account acquisitions are perpetrated by attackers where they fraudulently gather customer email addresses and phone numbers of the dark web and get the bots to try different combinations until they get the right passwords. After getting into the customer’s account they might use it for multiple reasons. They can steal credit card information or make fraudulent purchases in the customer’s name. Repeated account takeover attacks may lead to customer loss hence seriously affecting the brand image. One of the biggest disadvantages of account acquisition attacks is that it is very difficult to detect the presence of these attacks without a consumer complaint.
Even though ATO attacks are inevitable there are certain steps an e-commerce owner, as well as the consumer, can help protect the accounts as well as the website from such attacks:
- Setting up multi-factor authentication helps prevent multiple logins from different accounts: It delays the login procedure and helps the consumer secure their account. You do not have to set up multiple authentications every time you log in, you can simply enable it for unknown devices you are logging into for the first time.
- As an e-commerce owner looking at protecting the security of his website or application, they can introduce AI-based protection and detection software that alerts the admin in case of multiple IP addresses bot attacks, however, it is important to note that since technology is ever-evolving the behavior of these bots are also constantly changed and upgraded to help prevent catching the eye of such detection software thus it is very important to keep the particular software up to date to monitor suspicious activity.
- E-commerce admins must have an active tracking system to track such attacks. One of the easiest ways to track these accounts is to look out for multiple ID addresses, a sudden rise in login attempt activities from various IP addresses can be an indication of the perpetrator trying to get the customer’s right address to access login. After they successfully log in, they will then try to lock the consumer out of their own account by changing multiple details that can then be a confirmed sign for the admin and must constantly track the steps of the attacker and block the account to prevent any more attacks if necessary.
- Another important step an admin can do to help prevent ATOs is to set a rate to the login attempts based on usernames, IP addresses, and devices. This will effectively help reduce such bogus login attempts. Another very effective way to help mitigate such attacks is by sending updated change notifications to users so in case an account has been compromised and is not done by the owner of the account, he can immediately dispute the login and take necessary steps to secure his account.
- Credit Card Cracking: Credit Card cracking is yet another fraudulent method that enables bots to gain access to personal credentials. The concept of cracking is based on obtaining the credit card number along with the name of the holder of the card and then getting the bots to use the combination technique to get the CVV number to illicitly use the card for personal gain.
The procedure of cracking for an intermediate developer is quite simple, they generally get details of the card number and holder easily available on the dark web, they then proceed to set up a bot to initiate small purchases on different sites where it goes on to try and attempt CVV codes, expiration date and The same bot is set up on at least 30 different sites to avoid guessing limits. By taking necessary precautions under credit card risk management, you can avoid falling under such fraudulent schemes and situations.
Such a procedure does not consume a lot of time, a developer takes about 4 seconds per card and a minimum of 22000 card details are compromised on a daily basis on a global scale.
However, certain challenges are set to help either prevent or stall the bot enough to secure private information:
- The cookie challenge is quite transparent to the real user but accepting or declining cookies on a website help confirm the presence of a real-time user on the website, this is one of the easiest challenges which are placed on the website.
- Captcha: This is the most effective way to keep bad bots from accessing personal information, during the test they help tell humans apart from bots thus keeping your site safe, they might seem a little annoying to regular customers but it is the first step towards protecting sensitive data
Imperva Bot management has been one of the best solution providers against credit card fraud, the bot manages to identify behavior as well as progressive analysis to identify said bots and block any exposed ends of the server hence keeping your site as well as the user’s data secure. There are several risks and risk management in the credit card industry and one must always keep their data private to stay away from these cyber crimes and frauds.
Malicious software, also known as malware attacks are perpetrated by cybercriminals are a major threat to cybersecurity. The developers create malicious software to plant on someone’s devices to access and monetise from their private information. There are different malware like viruses, ransomware, spyware, and trojan horses. While clicking on an infected email is one of the most common ways of giving access to the malware, there are more complicated ways developers use to plant the virus. Ransomware attacks have become one of the most common malware attacks. They insert into web pages like SQL injections and malware files which allows them to control complete access to your network. To prevent such attacks it is important that you have an updated firewall and protected software system to monitor any suspicious activity, it is also important you store all your data on a backup server and store as little insensitive data on your online server as possible. By taking necessary Malware risk assessments, you can prevent such cybersecurity threats for yourself.
As a user as well as a business owner you need to understand that any sort of data breach on your end will be harmful to either of the two parties, as a user you must make sure that your account is completely protected and try to not store credential information on any e-commerce sites as you may never know when your data might be compromised.
As a business owner, it is very important for you to stay up to date with the security measures, once you understand the point of view of a cybercriminal you will get a clearer idea about how to protect your server from any unwanted attacks. The owner needs to realise that one of the most important steps towards building a successful business in this day and age is to have a strong and returning consumer base and for that to happen it is important for your server to be protected and trouble-free at all times.
Blog published by: Akshita Sukhramani, Student Risk Committee