Features | March 09, 2023
Transactional Security: Defense and Compliance — Part 1
By Alyssa Alford
In an online world full of hacking and fraud, all personal information is vulnerable. Credit card information is one of the most sought-after items in data breaches, and a simple transaction could put someone’s private details in the wrong hands. Buying and selling can be risky without taking the proper precautions to safeguard all parties involved. Transactional security is vital in ensuring you and your customers are safe throughout the lifecycle of a purchase and beyond.
What makes a transaction so dangerous? Online sales involve sensitive customer data such as contact information and card information. Hackers have various means of collecting transactional data from an unsecure site. Stolen passwords and weak passwords are two of the most common causes of a data breach. To read more how this information can be stolen or compromised, check out this article from Liftoff on password safety, which includes advice to help strengthen the integrity of your passwords
Data breaches yield widespread consequences for their victims. On the side of the seller, the recovery period can involve multiple business and legal setbacks. A breach can put you at risk of:
- Weakened security
- Noncompliance fines
- Compensating victimized clients
- Loss of clients/revenue
- Endangering customer trust and reputation
- Lawsuits from involved parties including cardholders and banks
- Going out of business
According to IBM, the average cost of a data breach in the United States is $9.44 million as of 2022, weighing in at over half the global average. Small businesses spend an average of $690,000 in the aftermath of a hacking event, and middle-market companies spend over $1 million in these situations, the Ponemon Institute reports. The costs and effects of a breach can be detrimental; implementing strong security can prevent major losses in money, time and clientele.
Ecommerce Security Defense Measures
To better protect sellers from fraud, there are multiple ways to strengthen your defense against hackers. Locate the weaknesses in your infrastructure through vulnerability assessments or audits. Checking up on your cybersecurity in this way can help identify risks and weak points before they become an issue. Below are some preventative measures businesses of all sizes can take.
Training, training and more training: Training your employees in proper cybersecurity can make a significant difference in your overall security risk, as employees are often targeted in attempts to gain information. As techradar says, human error is the first step in 90% of all data breaches. Our team uses and recommends frequent and continual KnowBe4 training to keep us informed.
- Password and login security: If your website requires a login, it’s important to ensure your clients’ passwords are safe. Enforce using a unique, complex string of letters and numbers when prompting your customers to create a password. These passwords should ideally be unique to the site at hand. Tools like reCAPTCHA and multi-factor authentication (MFA) can add an additional layer of security. Limiting login attempts and locking accounts after a number of failed attempts are excellent ways to defend against attacks as well.
- Utilize your payment gateway’s AVS settings: Further secure your transactions by implementing the use of an address verification service (AVS). This matches a given billing address with the same credentials filed with a card by double-checking information with the credit card company. This can put a barrier up between hackers without access to the address-level information attached to stolen card numbers.
- Implement malware protection: Anti-malware software also offers a strong defense. In April 2022, PCMag tested over 100 applications and reported back their favorite anti-malware findings. Their top recommendations were Bitdefender, Avast, Norton and Webroot.
- HTTPS over HTTP, always: PCI compliance rules mandate secure sockets layer (SSL) for all ecommerce businesses. SSL certificates encrypt any data submitted to your records in order to render the information difficult for an intruder to read. This certification will also change the “http” in your URL to “https,” with the “s” as a marker of security. When visiting a new website, it’s a good idea to look for the locked padlock icon in the address bar, which many browsers use as a symbol for SSL-certified sites. Some of the browsers that have adopted this are Safari, Chrome, Edge and Firefox.
- Obtain and maintain compliance: Keeping up to date with the latest cybersecurity regulations and standards is imperative. Compliance can make or break your company, as noncompliance can result in fines and immense damage. If facing a cyberattack, these consequences can escalate in severity. We touch on two to be aware of in this PostScript article, but you can find other examples of what you need to know in this article from Hostinger Tutorials. Security needs are constantly evolving and require consistent research and regular updates to maintain a strong defense system. Compulsory regulations like these exist to protect everyone involved in the giving and handling of sensitive information.
Understanding what constitutes financial fraud and options for security defense measures are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cybersecurity. In Part 2, we’ll cover how to maintain a secure business through cybersecurity regulation standards and compliance.