Security threats in e commerce

Shashwat Solutions - Blog - Security threats in e commerce

E-Commerce is an online business and highly customer based, its security is a highly critical issue that’s prone to cyber-attacks and other types of threats. Therefore, E-Commerce companies must stay on red alert every single day in order to safeguard their websites from unexpected threats and attacks The key to preventing such attacks is to understand what threats are prevailing within the online world. Security is one of the most important issues in online business. E-commerce can only be successful in the long term if all requirements and desires are met properly.

Security conscious customers

There is hardly a topic that can more prevent customers from placing an order on the Internet than lack of security or even the appearance of insufficient security in an online shop. The technical aspects of the security concerns are on numerous to-do lists and there are correspondingly extensive solutions.

In this documentation, the focus should be less on the actual technical security holes. Rather, the typical fears of customers should be considered in order to understand them and to counter them. It doesn’t help much to have a state-of-the-art security solution without really being able to give the customer a feeling of trustworthiness.

Many are probably familiar with the story that the founder of Amazon at the beginning of the corporate career did not attach particular importance to special office furniture, because in the purely online business the customer only sees the website, nothing else.

Here, however, we also touch a sore point in e-commerce : Many customers fear the anonymity of the Internet when it comes to shopping. Who is this provider? Can I trust him? Is transaction security available? when he is not visibly in front of me?

Due to the anonymity in a web shop, many potential customers still have the feeling that, for example, entering their bank details in an e-shop can lead to unauthorized debiting by unknown third parties and simply cancel the ordering process. 

Security legislation by Shop owner

The legislator has already responded with the first mandatory information for a website. The so-called provider identification should enable the visitor or customer to identify those responsible. Comparable to this is the duty of a conventional shop owner to place his own name in a clearly visible place at the entrance to the store.


In terms of customer service and to increase the absolutely necessary trust in the web shop, one should offer more than the mandatory information. Why shouldn’t special contact details be given to customer advisors? Wherever possible, photos of the contact persons are also very useful to give the e-shop a real face.

Another point is the most accurate description of the items offered.  Allow product reviews and recommendations by third parties (according to the motto: customers advise customers). Try using a top seller list or sales ranking to make it clear that the customer is not the first and only person to buy this product from you.

Price pay security and transparency 

Price transparency is an understandable and important requirement. Hidden ancillary costs in the “small print” have always been unpopular. They are also not welcome (and prohibited) on the web. Awaken confidence by putting all cards on the table from the start. Delivery times should not be in the order confirmation either.

Allow a clear and easy way to order. The customer must know at all times whether he or she can still go back or not. Draw attention to the click when the order takes effect. The customer must be able to see the contractual terms before placing an order. We’ll talk about the exact legal requirements. The customer should not run into an order trap, but come back as a satisfied buyer and recommend your e-shop.

Because many online customers are concerned about ordering goods, paying for them, but not receiving delivery, it is very important to inform customers of the delivery status. Delays should also be communicated. In general, customer service after ordering is a main criterion for re-ordering the customer. We will see this in more detail in the next chapter.

A not very cheap instrument to instil trust is the acquisition of certificates, both in terms of technical data security and in terms of customer service. Check the offers here too. Not every certificate, not every seal of quality is worth the price. The uncertainty of customers and the inexperience of some shop founders is partly good business for self-appointed test bodies.

Internet Standards

You shouldn’t believe it, but there are still e-shops that do not use SSL encryption for the ordering process. The “open lock” symbol is guaranteed not to create trust in a reasonably experienced online shopper (and inexperienced internet users are less willing to shop online anyway).

As a rule, even the cheapest rental shop offers the SSL variant. So there is no reason to lose customer trust here. There is actually no reasonable reason not to activate all the security options already available with the existing hardware and software if you have not already done so anyway.

It should also no longer happen that customers receive no delivery because the order data of the last 48 hours has been lost and has not been saved. For the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned that it does not make a good impression if the order confirmation is accompanied by an attachment that turns out to be a virus. Good virus protection is inexpensive and easy to have.

If you now think that these instructions are actually self-evident, you are of course right, and yet there are web shop operators who do not follow these simple rules. Such a procedure shakes the online clientele and lowers the general trust. It is important to also observe security problems outside of your own area, because your customers (unfortunately) are not only dealing with your shop and could also expect the difficulties from you.

 Then you can also better point out your special measures, which ensure that you will not experience this and that problem.

Many technical security requirements can be solved or at least delegated by choosing a reliable web host and, if necessary, rental shop provider. Questions of data backup, encryption, signature, uninterruptible power supply, reliability and availability, to name but a few, must otherwise be resolved on your own and with the help of an Internet security service provider.

 Security of Personal data

Online customers are very sensitive when it comes to data protection, no wonder, because on the Internet users easily get the feeling that personal data is easily accessible to unauthorized third parties. Data protection is an important task for an online shop operator not only because of a legal obligation. Imagine that you order something on the web and from the following day you receive an enormous number of questionable advertising emails from other companies. That certainly doesn’t shed light on the shop owner. Nevertheless, various e-shops illegally sell their customer data to third parties.

Internet users are in some ways careless when handing out personal data by registering on websites, entering all possible details about hobbies, marital status, online times and the like, but even reluctant to enter their own address when placing an order. Therefore treat customer data confidentially and ensure that no unauthorized person can gain access. The legal situation is clear here.

Further information on data protection can be found in the chapter on online law.

Personal Data Security

IT security for the customer and data protection are of great importance. You should also keep an eye on your own safety. This includes, for example, that you do not know the identity of the customer, you cannot see the customer, and you also have to live with anonymity on the web. There are different ways to check customer data before you accept and deliver an order.

Electronic address directories are useful, but you will not find all customers in them, as you can object to the entry. Professional services for checking customer data and creditworthiness are available, but not cheap. You should only use such services if you offer expensive articles. Many companies try to secure themselves via the payment method, i.e. only deliver against cash on delivery or prepayment. These companies only make delivery on account of the second order (if the first has already been paid for). Customers in turn like to order on account, because this seems very safe for them. We’ll take a closer look at the payment options.

Other security issues that you may face are technical. These include hacker attacks on your data, targeted overloading of web servers, clogging of email mailboxes or redirection of the web address. Find out about Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) that help you identify intruders. Take advantage of the providers’ options to recognize and block spam mails. Also consider the possibility of insuring your company against certain internet risks. You cannot prevent a loss of image among customers if a security hole is used, but you can perhaps limit the financial damage.


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FOUNDER & CEO, Shashwat Solutions, Pune

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