With the coming of the digital age, there is a growing threat to all merchants and service providers. Online skimming is slowly becoming a common worry for them all. These basically are attacks that infect e-commerce websites with malicious code or sniffers that are tough to detect and once infected, the payment card information is ‘skimmed’ during a transaction without the merchant or the consumer’s knowing. In no time, this information is recorded for dubious transactions. These fraudulent method is also called as Magecart and many security researchers are looking at different methods to increase security measures.
Are you at threat?
These attacks are either directly ingrained to the commerce websites or it could also be placed in the third party software libraries that most of these merchants depend on. It could be operated by plugin or brute force just to gain access and inject code. These attacks are possible on third party applications that could also include live chat functions and even customer rating features. Thus, it is a huge threat to almost any e-commerce enabled website today. The code is often triggered when the victim enters their payment information during checkout or to pay for the order.
The threat does not end there though, because multiple forms of information is recorded, it also picks up other information like your billing address, phone numbers and even username & passwords. Quite a tough problem to deal with, but who is most at risk with Magecart? Pretty much any e-commerce enabled website that does not have adequate security measures. This could also include third party service providers that use in app payment methods.
Without the right measures in place, these kind of threats are extremely difficult to detect – that is what makes it one of the most dangerous online threats to date. More of a threat is the fact that, once your security is compromised, these third party services can hide in your code too until there is an escalation to check the code.
Who is likely to be in threat?
This threat is most common in small businesses and the obvious reason is that smaller businesses do not carry the data security resources or knowledge that a large corporation would. A hacker would know that it would be a lot easier to crack through a small business as opposed to the e-commerce site of a multi national company. Also, a website with a high number of transactions would have flags raised almost immediately; making it really difficult to break through.
How can you protect yourself from such an attack?
Prevention is better than cure. That saying goes a long way in avoiding an online attack. The simplest and best protection is to implement a layered defence that adds patching operating systems and software with the updated security updates. This apart, you should follow these steps:
- Always verify vendors and ensure they use the best security practices.
- Insist on the latest security patches for all the software you are using.
- Control access to what is required and block or deny access to any other points as default.
- Have the right kind of authentication for all your system components. This includes your server too.
- Malware protection goes a long way to saving your business. Have it updated always.
These methods can help you prevent these tough-to-notice attacks always. Keeping a robust security method helps tremendously too. Having a PCI DSS certification on your website helps too as you would regularly review the software and monitor any changes that take place on your environment. This would help you defend any sort of change that could be running.
More smaller businesses are taking these threats seriously, making it tougher for cyber criminals. It is extremely important that you build a method that creates a checklist on a regular basis to keep such threats at bay. It is almost an everyday priority and you need to have a plan to protect your data. If your website has a high volume of transactional data on it – clearly, you are an easy target for an e-skimming attack. Over the last few years, companies like Macy’s and Puma have been compromised and that has only raised eyebrows of other large corporations to implement PCI DSS.
With a PCI DSS certification, you are always sure of having the right methods in place to run your e-commerce business. Any transactional data would be protected and information would always be encrypted on your website, thus making it very difficult to get code added in. This certification also places a regular check on your code to ensure there are no over-writing malicious code present on it.
This is one of the reasons that many companies face heavy fines for not implementing the right kind of security measures to protect cardholder’s information on their website. There is always records of what is happening on the web server and it needs to be constantly monitored to make sure there isn’t an attacker that is logged in a taking control.
What can a consumer do?
It is a lot tougher for a consumer to prevent their information being stolen, mainly because they are completely unaware of the scripts running in the background. Many users switch to credit cards completely for online transactions so that you have a lower liability for fraud. Using a virtual credit card is also a simple method to protect yourself.