What are the biggest threats to e-commerce websites?

Website Security Express

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What are the biggest threats to e-commerce websites?

Online stores are ideal places to illegally access payment information, free items, or customer contact details. Here are some of the most common ways criminals get their hands on such information. 

  • Fraud: Malicious users can use someone else’s payment information to purchase goods illegally.
  • DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-service): These attacks overwhelm websites with traffic, preventing legitimate users from accessing the website. These attacks are sometimes smokescreens to distract from other cyberattacks.
  • Malware: Criminals can infect your website with trojans and viruses that steal data, mine cryptocurrencies, or generate profit through other means.
  • Vulnerabilities: Hackers can use outdated code, database weaknesses, and security misconfigurations to access private information.
  • E-Skimming: Like physical skimmers that steal data at gas pumps and ATMs, e-skimming software lives on a website and stores payment information from customers.

Steps to secure your website

E-commerce stores are highly attractive to hackers, so you must do all you can to secure your site. Even a single hack can ruin your reputation and make customers hesitant to shop with you.

Go over each of these items to ensure you and your customers stay safe online. 


Have you ever visited a website and received a warning that the connection wasn’t secure? If so, the website likely lacked an SSL certificate. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer – a system that ensures no middlemen can intercept data between the website and the visitor. When a website adds an SSL certificate, the URL will now show as HTTPS  (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure). 

Adding an SSL certificate not only improves your website’s security, but it also boosts consumer confidence. The majority of online shoppers avoid websites that lack SSL certificates, meaning you could lose out on countless sales if you do not secure your site.

PCI Compliant Payment Gateways

We’re all hesitant to share our credit card and bank details, especially online. Retailers need to protect their customers by partnering with companies that follow standards from The Payment Card Industry. PCI compliance requires adhering to 12 guidelines, including protecting cardholder data and conducting vulnerability scans and penetration tests. 

To ensure your website is as secure as possible, consider working with payment gateways like International Bancard, WorldPay, and EVO Payments.

Use an e-commerce platform

While many small businesses try to cut costs and build their own e-commerce websites, it is often best to host your website on a dedicated retail platform. These services manage all aspects of running an online store. 

By building your website on ShopifyBigCommerce, or other platforms, you can improve security and maintain consumer privacy. These companies are dedicated to providing reliable service, and they follow the latest trends in hacking and cybersecurity. Even better, they can automatically keep your website up to date and ensure no known vulnerabilities exist.

Not only can you run your website from your POS, but you can also synchronize your inventories for total control. Whether a product sells in-store or online, both inventories will update to keep accurate stock levels.

Keep your site up to date

Hackers are always looking for the newest ways to compromise websites. Sadly, there is always a vulnerability that can be exploited. 

Web developers are also constantly looking for ways to fix their code. From patching major security flaws to making small tweaks to make things run smoother, updates are a normal part of running a website. 

To ensure safety, make sure to update each of these components of your website:

  • Core platform versions: Platforms have regular updates that improve total security. Make sure to routinely check for these updates or set them to automatically occur with each new deployment.
  • Themes: Your website theme can be exploited if it falls out of date. Be sure to delete all unused themes and update your current theme regularly.
  • Plugins: Plugins and third-party integrations can provide easy access to your confidential data. From small things like form builders to major programs like email marketing platforms, these all need to be up to date. 

Create backups

No matter how safe you are, accidents happen. Whether a malicious actor compromises your website or an update causes conflicts among applications, you need a way to restore your online store to its original state. 

Regular backups are just the tool for this job. Essentially, backups download all aspects of your website to create a duplicate. In the event of an emergency, you can simply upload your back and get your website back up and running. 

So, how often should you backup your e-commerce website? For optimum safety, back up your website daily. Online stores are constantly updating with each sale, so you want to make sure your data is as fresh as possible.


Priority Web Services is committed to helping businesses compete with the giants. Not only are our point of sale systems accessible from the cloud, but they also synchronize with many programs to help build your online presence. 

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