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9 Most Common eCommerce Security Vulnerabilities

Simon Dwight Keller
Simon Dwight Keller

Founder & CEO of SDK Marketing

May 31, 2022


9 Most Common eCommerce Security Vulnerabilities

9 Most Common eCommerce Security Vulnerabilities

Simon Dwight Keller
Simon Dwight Keller

Founder & CEO of SDK Marketing

May 31, 2022


9 Most Common eCommerce Security Vulnerabilities
table of contents
Establishing an online shopping website is a great way to grow your business, as the internet has become a massive part of most people’s lives. With the estimation of 2.14 billion global digital buyers in 2021, more entrepreneurs decide to use tools such as a Zyro eCommerce website builder to establish their brands in the digital ecosystem.

However, this great market potential is also followed by threats from various malicious parties who aim to profit by harming your business and customers. According to reports, the average cost of a data breach to companies worldwide is $3.86 million. To help you fight back against these attacks, we will look at the nine most common security threats for eCommerce websites and talk about how you can protect your online business.

1. Phishing

Phishing is a type of social engineering that attacks targets by sending fake direct links through various media, such as emails, phone calls, and messaging services. This kind of cyberattack typically aims to steal the target’s sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords.

Most phishing attacks mimic messages from a trusted party, such as a large company or government body. Their attacks typically use tactics to create a sense of urgency, leading the target to click on a link or download a file containing malicious software.

According to the FBI, phishing was the most common form of cyberattack in 2020, averaging at 241,324 cases throughout the year. These attacks also have a relatively high chance of success, considering that around 74% of organizations in the United States have suffered from a successful phishing attack.

Here are some tips that might help you avoid being exposed to phishing attacks:

  • Identify the information’s legitimacy. Most phishing attacks contain spelling mistakes, and the sender’s address is usually dodgy.
  • Check links and buttons before clicking. If you are using a desktop computer or a laptop, it is possible to check the destination URL of a hyperlink or button by hovering your cursor over it. See if the target URL looks suspicious or contains any misspelled words. Some phishing emails also contain shortened links you shouldn’t click.
  • Don’t download attachments from a suspicious email. Avoid downloading email attachments if you are unsure who the sender is. Some file types, such as executables and documents, may contain malware that can expose your system to hackers.
  • Be wary of pop-ups. Some pop-ups might also turn out to be phishing attacks. They are typically designed to match the website’s content and design. Most web browsers nowadays can help you to block pop-ups from websites. But, if you get one, do not click on any part of the popup except the small x button usually located at the upper right corner.

2. Financial Frauds

Financial frauds have existed for a long time. Most attackers target the customer’s financial information by breaching into the eCommerce’s backend. They will inject malicious code into the system to access the payment data that goes through your shopping cart.

There are two common forms of financial fraud targeting eCommerce websites. The first one is credit card hijacking, which aims to get customers' credit card information and use it to make purchases on your website.

A great tool to protect your website from credit card hijacking is the Address Verification Service (AVS). It works by matching the billing address submitted by the card user with the cardholder's billing address recorded by the issuing bank. 

The second type of attack is fake returns or return fraud. In this attack, the perpetrator attempts to return a product to the merchant to get a refund. However, most of these items are not eligible for refund due to several reasons like the item being damaged, used before return, or purchased from a different merchant.

In 2020, around 6% of total returns in the US were fraudulent. To avoid being exposed to return frauds, you may have to fine-tune your return policy by educating your employees about the risks and making your policy accessible to your customers.

3. Spamming

Spam attacks work similarly to phishing. Attackers will send a massive amount of messages containing infected links through email or social media inboxes. These links will direct you to a malicious website or make you download files containing viruses or bugs that may expose your sensitive information.

Some attackers also target contact forms or the comment sections of blog pages. Aside from breaching your security system, a massive amount of spam may also impact the website’s performance.

Most eCommerce platforms have built-in anti-spam features. Make sure to keep your website updated and patched to ensure there are no vulnerabilities on your system.

4. Malware

Malware is any type of file specifically designed to harm or exploit the target’s system. There are various types of malware, including spyware, viruses, trojan, and ransomware. Malware can do different kinds of damage to your system, including exposing sensitive data, deleting databases, or throttling your system’s performance.

Cyber attackers can inject malware into your system by sending links that make users download files or lead them to malicious websites.

To battle malware attacks, it is recommended to install an additional malware scanner and keep your system up to date. Making a regular backup of your system is also a good idea to protect your data from malware attacks.

5. DDoS Attack

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) aims to cripple your server’s availability by sending a large number of harmful requests to it. This traffic usually comes from untraceable IP addresses, which can eventually crash your entire system, preventing users from accessing your online store.

Prolonged server downtime can significantly harm your business’s income. In 2020, 25% of businesses worldwide reported that the average hourly server downtime cost their businesses between $301,000 and $400,000. Therefore, it is essential to know how to prevent this attack from harming your website.

Investing in high-quality network hardware, installing firewall software, and using CDN can help your business fight back against DDoS attacks.

6. Bots

Bots are software applications designed to carry out malicious activities to the target computer automatically. These bots can conduct various attacks on your system, including DDoS, spamming, and stealing data.

Some bots are also designed to crawl your eCommerce website to get information about your inventory and prices. The attackers may attempt to modify the prices and stock of your products, resulting in a decline in sales and revenue.

Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, commonly known as CAPTCHA, can protect your website from bot attacks.

7. SQL Injections

The database is a crucial part of almost every online business around the world. SQL injection is a cyberattack aiming to infiltrate your database and manipulate the information contained in it. This attack works by injecting malicious code into your database via query submission forms.

Once the hacker gains access to your database, they may attempt to manipulate your data by changing, deleting, or stealing information within. SQL injection is concerning because your customers’ sensitive data is also vulnerable to this attack and might be abused by hackers.

Using SQLi detection tools, such as BBQSQL and Blind-SQL-Bitshifting, is one way to enhance and maintain your database’s security and protect your data from these malicious attacks.

8. Brute Force Attacks

Unlike other entries in this article, this attack method can be considered the least sophisticated. Instead of luring victims with social engineering or planting malicious files into your system, some attackers use special tools to try different username and password combinations until they access the target’s account.

Even though this attack method is not as complex as the other methods, it still poses a danger for business owners and customers. 

One way to prevent brute force attacks is to use strong and unique passwords for all your accounts. Utilize tools such as LastPass and Bitwarden to manage your credentials easily.

9. Cross-Site Scripting

XSS Attacks or cross-site scripting works similarly to SQL injection, except it targets the website’s users instead of the database. The attackers can plant a malicious JavaScript snippet on your e-commerce store, which starts immediately when the user accesses your website.

Some attackers also plant their scripts on elements such as a comment box. This script can obtain access to any cookies, session tokens, or sensitive data stored in the target’s device.

Implementing the Content Security Policy (CSP) is one of the ways to prevent your website from being exposed to XSS attacks.

Why eCommerce Security is Important

After looking at various potential threats for your eCommerce website, it is safe to deduct that having a robust cybersecurity system is very important. Aside from ensuring your business keeps operating normally, maintaining security also has several other benefits:

  • It helps you build credibility. Having a lot of security breach incidents will tarnish your business’s reputation in the industry. The only way to avoid this is by applying robust cybersecurity strategies to your website, which may help you reduce the risk of getting attacked.
  • Improves search engine ranking. Search engines, such as Google, have several criteria when deciding your ranking on the SERPs, one of which is website security. A strong cybersecurity system may also result in a better user experience. This will tell search engines that your website is considered trustworthy and improve your ranking.
  • Attracts more customers. When most of your customers have a good online shopping experience, they may leave good feedback, which is a great way to improve credibility. 
  • Generates more sales. Looking at your website security as the foundation of your online business can boost the quality of other aspects, like marketing and transaction processes. This may give your business bigger chances to generate more sales.


Having a robust cybersecurity system is a must for all ventures, including eCommerce websites. With the high amount of financial transactions happening on the internet nowadays, the number of criminal activities is also increasing significantly. Therefore, it is important to understand the potential threats to your business.

In this article, we have learned nine different eCommerce security vulnerabilities, including:

  • Phishing;
  • Financial frauds;
  • Spamming;
  • Malware;
  • DDoS attack;
  • Bots;
  • SQL injections;
  • Brute force attacks;
  • Cross-site scripting.

We also learned why having a good security system is vital for your online business’s growth. Follow the tips presented in this article and make sure to check and update your eCommerce security measures regularly to protect your business and its customers.

9 security vulnerabilities in eCommerce
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