How to protect your eCommerce website: 7 basic tips

How to protect your eCommerce website: 7 basic tips

With cyber threats growing in sophistication, strengthening your eCommerce security isn't just a good idea—it's a non-negotiable imperative.

As we peek into the future, online transactions surge by the minute, and ensuring the safety and security of your virtual storefront has never been more critical. New figures from Statista suggest that cybercrime can cost businesses an astonishing $23.82 Trillion annually by 2027.

How to protect your eCommerce website: 7 basic tips

As technology advances, so do the methods employed by cybercriminals to breach security defenses. In fact, 43% of all cyber attacks are aimed at small businesses, including many eCommerce ventures.

In this ever-evolving digital landscape, staying one step ahead of potential threats and offering a secure platform is the key to a thriving online business.

This article, right from our experts' den, brings you 7 basic but indispensable tips to fortify your eCommerce website against looming dangers, keeping your customers' trust intact and securing your slice of the eCommerce success pie.

So, if you're ready to safeguard your eCommerce empire and ensure a seamless shopping experience for your customers, read on to discover the essential measures that will shield your website from the clutches of cyber adversaries.

Let's jump in!

What is eCommerce security? 

eCommerce security refers to the comprehensive set of strategies, practices, and technologies employed to safeguard all major security factors defined in eCommerce software development and running your digital stores. 

How to protect your eCommerce website: eCommerce security

It encompasses all measures taken to protect the website, customer information, payment details, and transactions from unauthorized access, data breaches, and cyber attacks.

The cornerstone of how to secure your eCommerce website lies in establishing a secure environment for both the business owner and your customers. This involves addressing layer of security and potential vulnerabilities and employing a multi-faceted approach to mitigate risks.

The experts in the field consider the following 6 essential factors of security for eCommerce sites:

  • Integrity - Ensuring the consistency, accuracy, and reliability of security protocols and information by preventing unauthorized alterations.
  • Non-repudiation - Confirming that both buyers and sellers acknowledge and cannot deny the legitimacy of recorded transactions.
  • Authenticity - Requiring sellers and buyers to provide identity verification to ensure secure transactions.
  • Confidentiality - Granting access, changes, or usage of sensitive data only to those with proper authorization.
  • Privacy - Protecting customer data from unauthorized access and ensuring it remains confidential.
  • Availability - Ensuring that the eCommerce site remains accessible 24/7 to provide uninterrupted service to customers.

The importance of security for eCommerce website today 

In today's hyper-connected digital landscape, the importance of security cannot be overstated.

As the world shifts towards online shopping, consumers are increasingly entrusting their personal and financial information to eCommerce platforms. With this rapid growth in online transactions comes an equal rise in malicious codes, cyber threats and security breaches, making the protection of sensitive data an absolute necessity.

To put things in perspective, frauds and breaches with online payment card processing pages have vastly taken over the digital world everywhere. And while top of the table is North America with 42% of global fraud cases, West Europe is also just behind with 26% of online payment fraud reports.

How to protect your eCommerce website: Online payment fraud league table

Recent incidents have highlighted the devastating consequences of inadequate security measures for eCommerce brands. There's a whole list of data and security breaches between 2022–2023 that will leave you stunned.

One notable example is the data breach faced by a well-known global fashion retailer, Shien, in 2022. Hackers successfully infiltrated the retailer's system, compromising the personal data of millions of customers, including names, addresses, financial details, and payment information.

The fallout from this breach was not only financial, with the company facing hefty fines and legal consequences, but also reputational, as customer trust was severely damaged.

The benefits of security measures for eCommerce sites

Lesson learned from the big names and their big losses.

For eCommerce businesses, security is more than just a protective measure; it is a critical component of maintaining customer trust and loyalty. A security breach not only results in financial loss, but also loss in future revenue as customers stop trusting your brand with their data safety and privacy.

Here are some key reasons why security is paramount for eCommerce websites today:

1. Safeguarding customer data

Customers willingly share their personal information when making online purchases, and it is the responsibility of eCommerce businesses to protect this data with security standards. A single breach can lead to severe consequences, including loss of customer trust, reputational damage, and potential legal liabilities.

2. Building customer confidence

A secure eCommerce website instills confidence in customers. When customers feel safe and assured that their data is protected, they are more likely to complete transactions, return for future purchases, and recommend the website to others.

3. Compliance with data regulations

Governments and regulatory bodies worldwide are tightening data protection laws, holding businesses accountable for data breaches. Compliance with these regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), is essential for eCommerce security to avoid substantial penalties.

4. Reducing downtime and loss of revenue

Cyber attacks like DDoS assaults can disrupt website availability, leading to significant downtime and loss of revenue. Implementing robust security features for eCommerce websites helps mitigate these risks and ensures uninterrupted business operations.

5. Protecting intellectual property and trade secrets

eCommerce businesses often hold valuable intellectual property and trade secrets. Without proper security, unauthorized access to these assets can lead to loss of competitive advantage and innovation.

Potential eCommerce security threats to look out for! 

Ignoring potential risks can lead to dire consequences, including financial losses, damage to reputation, and loss of customer trust. 

How to protect your eCommerce website: Potential eCommerce security threats

Let's delve into some of the most prevalent and common threats that online merchants must remain vigilant against:

Brute force tactics 

Brute force attacks involve automated tools that attempt to crack login credentials by trying numerous password combinations. If weak or commonly used passwords are employed, hackers can gain unauthorized access to admin accounts, customer data, and other critical systems.

Data breaches 

As one of the most common attacks, data breaches are perhaps the most concerning threat faced by eCommerce websites. Hackers employ various techniques to infiltrate a website's security defenses and gain unauthorized access to sensitive customer data.

This data includes personal information, payment details, and login credentials. Once breached, cybercriminals can exploit this information for identity theft, financial fraud, or even sell it on the dark web.

Phishing attacks 

Phishing attacks target both eCommerce businesses and their customers. Cybercriminals craft fraudulent emails, messages, or websites to deceive users into disclosing sensitive information, such as login credentials or payment details.

These deceptive tactics prey on human vulnerability, relying on unsuspecting victims to unwittingly share their confidential information.

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks 

DDoS attacks aim to overwhelm an eCommerce store's website's servers and infrastructure by flooding them with an excessive amount of malicious traffic.

This flood of requests causes the website to become slow, unresponsive, or entirely unavailable, disrupting business operations and frustrating customers. DDoS attacks can be used as a diversion to facilitate other cybercrimes, like data breaches.

Malware and ransomware 

Malware and ransomware are malicious software designed to infiltrate and infect eCommerce websites. Malware can steal sensitive data, cause system disruptions, or hijack user sessions.

Ransomware, on the other hand, encrypts critical data, holding it hostage until a ransom is paid. Both types of attacks can result in significant financial losses and damage to a company's reputation. Both of these are usually susceptible to sites built on untrusted networks.


E-skimming, also known as Magecart attacks, involves compromising your website's payment gateway to steal card information during credit card transactions. This threat targets both your customers and your business's financial well-being.

Cross-site scripting (XSS) 

Cross-site scripting attacks inject malicious scripts into web pages, enabling hackers to steal data, hijack sessions, or redirect users to phishing sites. Keeping software up to date and validating user input can help mitigate this threat.

Man-in-the-middle attacks 

In man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks, cyber attackers intercept and manipulate communication between an eCommerce website and its customers.

By inserting themselves between the two parties, attackers can eavesdrop on sensitive data, modify transactions, or impersonate legitimate parties, leading to fraudulent activities.

SQL injection 

SQL injection is a technique where hackers exploit vulnerabilities in a website's input fields to inject malicious SQL code into the website's database. Successful SQL injection attacks can grant unauthorized access to the database, potentially exposing sensitive customer data or disrupting the website's functionality.

Social engineering

Social engineering attacks are also one of the common forms that manipulate human psychology to trick individuals into divulging confidential information. This can include impersonating trusted contacts or pretending to be from legitimate organizations to gain access to sensitive data.

7 eCommerce website security tips 

You know what to beware of, how and why you must aim for security in all key features for any eCommerce website in 2023;

but how to secure an eCommerce website actually?

Cyber threats are constantly evolving, and any vulnerability can expose your customers' sensitive information, jeopardize your reputation, and lead to financial losses.

We got you covered with 7 actionable security tips and eCommerce solutions from our experts that can fortify your online store and instill confidence in your customers:

How to protect your eCommerce website: 7 basic security tips

1. Keep software updated 

Regularly updating your eCommerce platform, content management system (CMS), plugins, admin panels, and other software components is a fundamental security measure. Software modernization services often include critical security patches that address known vulnerabilities.

Hackers actively exploit outdated software with malware attacks and more, so staying current is essential to keep cybercriminals at bay. To simplify this process, enable automatic updates whenever possible and regularly check for the latest versions of your eCommerce software.

"Frequent software updates are non-negotiable. Many data breaches happen due to exploiting known vulnerabilities that could have been patched with updates." - John Smith, Cybersecurity Expert.

Tip: Staying current with the latest software updates is akin to strengthening the walls of your digital fortress. To effortlessly keep pace with advancements, consider subscribing to software updates for the tools you employ. 

One noteworthy resource that can streamline this process is By leveraging this platform, you'll be armed with the most recent releases, enhancing your website's resilience against potential threats. 

2. SSL/ TLS certificates

Obtaining an SSL/ TLS certificate is crucial for encrypting data transmitted between your eCommerce website and customers' browsers.

This encryption ensures that sensitive information, such as credit card details, billing address and login credentials, remains protected during online transactions and diffuses any hacking attempts.

With a visible padlock icon in the browser's address bar and a URL starting with "https," an SSL certificate provides visual cues to users that their connection is secure, bolstering their confidence in your website's safety.

How to protect your eCommerce website: SSL/TLS certificates

Difference between SSL and TLS 

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) are both cryptographic protocols that provide secure communication over the internet. The main difference between them lies in their versions and evolution.

SSL was the original protocol developed to secure online connections. However, due to security vulnerabilities discovered over time, newer and more secure versions were developed. TLS was introduced as the successor to SSL to address these vulnerabilities.

While both SSL and TLS serve the same purpose of encrypting data exchanged between a user's browser and a website's server, TLS is considered more secure and robust. TLS versions like TLS 1.2 and 1.3 offer stronger encryption algorithms, improved security features, and better resistance to attacks compared to the older SSL versions.

In essence, TLS is the modern and recommended protocol for ensuring the security and privacy of online communication, while SSL has largely been phased out due to its security limitations.

Tip: Consider adopting Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificates, which display your company's name in green in the browser's address bar, offering additional visual assurance to customers. Also, ensuring that your eCommerce website uses the latest TLS version is crucial for maintaining a secure online environment.

To verify your current TLS version, you can use online tools like SSL Labs' SSL Server Test. This tool performs a comprehensive assessment of your website's SSL/TLS configuration, providing valuable insights into the security of your setup.

4. Strong password policies 

One of the best eCommerce security practices is to enforce stronger password policies for both customer and admin accounts.

Encourage users to create unique, complex passwords containing a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.

Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) further enhances security by requiring users to provide a secondary form of verification, such as a one-time code sent to their mobile device, in addition to their password.

How to protect your eCommerce website: Strong password policies

Example: Instead of using simple passwords like "password123," encourage users to create stronger ones like "P@ssw0rd#21!" 

Tip: While this may seem obvious, always add options for Two-factor Authentication (TFA) not only for payment but also for your B2B customer accounts and even personal logins on websites to ensure safety for buying and placing orders.

To test your password's strength, type it in Bitwarden, an open-source password strength checker. Not only does this app give you a strength check, but also highlights how much time it might take to crack it. For reference, this password we came up with can take over 93 YEARS to crack!! 

How to protect your eCommerce website: Password Strength testing tool

5. Regular backups 

Backups are a crucial part of your eCommerce security strategy.

Frequent backups of your eCommerce website and customer data are essential for disaster recovery. In the event of a cyber attack, data breach, or system failure, backups allow you to restore your website to a previous state, minimizing downtime and data loss.

Store backups securely, preferably in off-site locations or in encrypted cloud storage.

Tip: Utilize the 3-2-1 backup strategy. It begins with making 3 data copies with a primary source and two backups, dividing them into 2 different types of storage systems, where 1 is an off-site storage.

How to protect your eCommerce website: Regular backups

"Backup your data regularly and test the restoration process to ensure that your backups are viable and up-to-date." - Sarah Johnson, IT Security Consultant.

5. Monitor website activity 

Implement real-time website monitoring and intrusion detection systems to identify and respond promptly to any suspicious activity on IP addresses, user accounts, and spam emails.

Monitoring tools can help detect unusual login attempts, unauthorized changes to website files, and other potential security breaches. Prompt detection allows you to take swift action and prevent further damage.

Tip: Consider using specialized software like security information and event management (SIEM) solutions to aggregate and analyze security event data from various sources, enabling proactive threat detection.

How to protect your eCommerce website: monitor website activity

6. Payment gateway security 

Partner with reputable and secure payment gateway providers to handle online transactions. Offloading payment processing to trusted third-party gateways reduces the risk of storing sensitive payment information on your website.

Additionally, implement tokenization, a security measure that replaces sensitive payment data with unique tokens, further protecting customer data.

Example: PayPal and Stripe are well-known payment gateways that offer robust security features and are trusted by customers worldwide.

7. Educate staff and customers 

All drastic measures are useless if their value and method aren't communicated to your team and customers who are interacting with your business in real life.

Train your employees to recognize common cybersecurity threats and adhere to best practices. 

Tip: Conduct regular security awareness employee training to educate staff on how to identify phishing attempts, suspicious links, and potential social engineering tactics.

Educating your customers is also equally crucial. Provide clear and accessible information on your website about online safety, secure shopping practices, and how to identify and report phishing attempts.

Consult the COAX experts for eCommerce website security! 

When it comes to safeguarding your eCommerce website with essential security audit practice, seeking professional expertise can make all the difference in ensuring ironclad protection against cyber threats. 

The experts at COAX Software specialize in eCommerce and retail online security and have an in-depth understanding of the latest trends, vulnerabilities, and best practices in the field. By enlisting the services of COAX, you can benefit from their wealth of knowledge and experience to fortify your online store against potential security breaches.

We can help you with:

  • Specialized expertise: Our experts are in the industry for over a decade. We focus exclusively on eCommerce website protection, allowing us to stay at the forefront of emerging threats and cutting-edge security solutions.
  • Tailored solutions: Every eCommerce business is unique, and COAX understands the importance of customizing security measures to suit specific requirements. We assess your website's vulnerabilities and design a tailored security strategy that best aligns with your needs and budget.
  • Proactive approach: COAX employs a proactive approach in our quality assurance (QA) testing, we don't just continuously monitor for potential threats, identify weaknesses, but also help you upgrade your whole website in terms of performance, UX, functionality, and security!
  • Industry compliance: As data protection laws evolve, COAX experts are certified ISO and GDPR compliant. We ensure that your eCommerce website remains compliant with relevant regulations as well, reducing the risk of legal liabilities and penalties.
  • Immediate support: Cyber threats can strike at any time, and we're just one call away! Don't leave the security of your eCommerce website to chance. Safeguard your business and customers' trust by partnering with COAX to strengthen your online defenses.
  • Take the next step towards securing your eCommerce success and book a consultation with the COAX experts for a comprehensive security assessment!

eCommerce Security: FAQs

What are the major eCommerce website security issues? 

Major online store security issues include data breaches, where hackers gain unauthorized access to sensitive customer information; phishing attacks, which deceive users into revealing confidential data; DDoS attacks that disrupt website availability; malware and ransomware that can infect and compromise the website; man-in-the-middle attacks, where attackers intercept communication; and SQL injection, which exploits vulnerabilities to manipulate the website's database.

What are the eCommerce website security requirements? 

eCommerce safety requirements include implementing SSL certificates for data encryption during transactions, enforcing strong password policies and multi-factor authentication, regularly updating software and plugins to address vulnerabilities, conducting regular backups for disaster recovery, monitoring website activity for suspicious behavior, partnering with secure payment gateways, and educating staff and customers about cybersecurity best practices.

How to secure eCommerce website for my business? 

To secure your eCommerce website, start by keeping software updated to address known vulnerabilities. Obtain an SSL certificate to encrypt data during transactions. Enforce strong password policies and consider implementing multi-factor authentication. Regularly backup your website and data for disaster recovery. There's a lot more to add, so consider seeking expert assistance from COAX for a comprehensive security assessment and tailored solutions.

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