Stay Safe When Buying and Selling Online

Don’t get e-skimmed!

We have all been warned about the dangerous, deep, dark corners of the internet. But the truth is, most of us shop online relatively care-free. We whip out our debit cards to order a new gadget, or lazily let our phones do the work with the swipe of a thumbprint and confirmation of payment. Companies have made it more convenient than ever before to pay online.

The ease of buying and selling online has led to an unparalleled growth of the online marketplace. There are now security threats that couldn’t have been perceived in the past. With each e-commerce innovation, and more money being exchanged via the internet, comes an increase in cybercriminals looking for a way to get their cut.

So the question is, if you’re someone who runs a business online or frequently makes payments via the internet, what are some of the precautionary measures you can take to ensure the safety of your e-commerce transactions?

The following are a few guidelines that can help you out:

Beware of what you share, when buying and selling online

Often online checkout forms have fields for details that have no particular relevance to the transaction being made. You should try and skip all questions that aren’t mandatory. When it comes to online shopping, it is best to stay as anonymous as possible. You don’t have to indulge the seller by oversharing.

Check for site encryption

You can do this by verifying that the site’s URL is “https” encrypted and not merely an http” site. Often your browser will show a closed lock next to the URL if the site is secure, or the words “Not Secure” if the site isn’t encrypted.

An HTTP site with an SSL (security sockets layer) certificate implemented is known as an https website. These sites are secure because they offer end-to-end encryption. Unlike an unsecured site, any information passing from web domain to browser or vice-versa is hard to intercept.

There are plenty of fraudulent websites posing as legitimate ones, and they look almost exactly like the website that you are intending to do business with. 

Verifying whether a site is genuine or not

  • Search for an online presence or social media account of some sort. If it is a genuine online shopping website, it will have an active Instagram or Twitter page for interacting with users or promoting services.
  • Look for poor English. This can be a dead giveaway of a fake.
  • Check the security status of the site in your browser. There should be a padlock icon to the left of the URL.
  • Carefully look at the URL. Imposters will have small one-off mistakes like Amaz0n.com, or strange extensions like .biz or .info.
  • Make sure that the site has contact information listed. If you can call or email customer service, and you get a response, that is a good sign.

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The valuable information that is collected from scams is resold on dark-web markets. 

What you can do if you own an e-commerce business

  • Trademark your company name and logo. Registering your company name as a trademark helps ensure that no one else can steal, copy, or make money off of your unique brand.
  • If you can’t afford your own e-commerce platform, use reliable SaaS providers like BigCommerce or Magento so that they can continuously monitor and protect your site from cybersecurity threats when selling online.
  • Encrypt your site by obtaining an SSL certificate. (as mentioned earlier)
  • Request that employees use long and complicated passwords. The stronger your passwords, the less likely it is for cybercriminals to breach your site.
  • Always keep your website updated with the latest security patches for your system’s software.

Take precautions against e-skimming

You may have recently heard of “Magecart”. They are an infamous group of hackers that have run e-skimming scams on huge companies like British Airways and Ticketmaster. The valuable information that is collected from buying online like this is then resold on dark-web markets. 

What is e-skimming?

E-skimming is the digital version of credit card skimming. Skimmers use malicious code or fake forms that resemble original website checkout forms to mislead website visitors into giving away their sensitive payment information. 

Hackers do this by way of infecting legitimate  e-commerce websites with the malware, which scans and identifies the user’s personal information.

What safety measures can you take to prevent e-skimming?

If you run an e-commerce platform, you can implement safety measures such as CSP (Content Security Policy). CSP is an extra element of security that can help avoid major cybersecurity attacks like XSS (Cross-site scripting) as well as unsolicited data injection from third parties.

You can also use Subresource integrity, which performs a similar function by encrypting your website using cryptographic hashes. If the hashes on the web page’s script and the browser don’t match, the script won’t be executed. It prevents any fraudulent third party web pages from being displayed on your browser

If you’re a user, browser plugins like NoScript can help ensure that any Javascript code from an untrusted source doesn’t load on your browser.

Still worried about your business’s e-commerce security? Tech Master’s can identify any vulnerabilities in your system. Give us a call for a free 30-minute consultation, we would be happy to help!

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