It’s no secret that mobile is the future of the internet and e-commerce. Roughly 10 billion mobile-connected devices are currently in use globally, and 62 percent of smartphone users have made a purchase in the last year using mobile.
What’s more, as of Q4 2017, 24 percent of all digital e-commerce dollars were spent via mobile devices. But while the mobile shift is apparent, many e-commerce brands are prioritizing production speed over user and organizational safety. In fact, a recent study found that 25 percent of all e-commerce apps contained at least one high-risk security vulnerability!
In an age of rampant cyber-hacking exploits, heightening your store’s mobile security—whether for an app or a mobile version of your site—is paramount to long-term success.
How Is Data Being Stored, Shared, Accessed and Protected?
Whether it’s a small online store that sells beauty products from home or a large fashion brick-and-mortar expanding online, it’s hard to operate an e-commerce store without collecting some sort of data. Troublingly, half of all mobile apps exhibit insecure data storage.
If consumers’ data isn’t kept secure, they’ll lose trust and—unless your store is already a permanent fixture in their lives—abandon your brand. Even if you don’t store sensitive data like credit cards and addresses, you’ll have customers’ email and password if you offer the option to create an account. And many people use the same password for everything. Considering 1.4 billion passwords were hacked in 2017, it’s slightly less surprising 90 percent of the login traffic of online retailers comes from hackers using stolen login data. Post-hack, these passwords are promptly listed for sale on the Dark Web and distributed to criminals around the world.
How Secure Are Your System Communications?
Insecure communication is another stumbling block for mobile applications. In mobile-device transactions, encryption is essential to protecting sensitive info. Implementing Transport Layer Protection/Security (TLS) for all authenticated connections — whether internet-connected pages or backend systems — reduces the likelihood of a hacking exploit. According to WhiteHat Security, if TLS ends at a load balancer, web application firewall or another in-line host, it should re-encrypt data on the way to its destination. The firm also recommends removing unnecessary information from server responses that hackers could leverage to attack your network.
Is Your Security Certificate Valid?
On the more straightforward but still crucial end of mobile security are certificates. Ensuring your TLS and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates (the green ‘Secure’ bar next to the URL) are valid and configured to correctly verify if a trusted entity issued the certificate prevents malicious actors from altering or accessing any data exchanged over your network. It also keeps users from unknowingly entering a high-risk website. To quell users’ security concerns, it helps to implement a security seal on your website.
Is Your Payment Process Secure?
Without valid security certificates and ‘https’ designation, your payment gateway isn’t secure. This allows data passed between the browser and your web server to be accessed. And if you’re processing your online payments instead of using a third-party tool like Stripe, PayPal, etc., becoming PCI-compliant is a must. As you’re shoring up your payment system, add in a live address verification system (AVS) to reduce fraudulent purchases.
Is Your Security Layered?
Do you need to layer your security if you’ve developed your mobile site or app with stringent security practices? Trick question: of course you do! Any decent hacker can get past a line or two of defense. Your best bet at thwarting cyber attacks is to layer your defenses. Implement firewalls to stop the first line of attacks. Use binary protection via root detection to identify when a device has been compromised to protect your app’s data from exposure. Additionally, a content delivery network (CDN) spreads traffic to servers around the world to protect against distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS). CDNs also help your page-loading speed.
Are You Testing For Vulnerabilities?
Maybe you’ve consulted with a cybersecurity firm or hired top-notch security developers. Your store still isn’t completely safe. Why? Cybersecurity is always evolving and so too should an e-commerce store’s defenses.
Hackers are successful because they’re smart and persistent; they’ll eventually find the way in if a route exists. This is why it’s so important to test for endpoint vulnerabilities, network issues, and log activity on an ongoing basis. It also helps to streamline a patch management system to sew up loopholes and optimize log management to make monitoring network activity manageable. Security testing tools like PenTest work well, but many exist, so research what works best for your site.
No matter how talented and senior your development team is, it’s nearly impossible to develop an exploit-free app or mobile version of your e-commerce site. This isn’t an inherent problem. What is, however, is not knowing—or ignoring—your loopholes, and thus failing to fix them.
Heightening your store’s mobile security isn’t an easy first-time effort nor is it an easy ongoing effort. It is an essential area to invest your time and money, though. Without prudent mobile security, nothing is protecting your brand from devastating losses in revenue, diminished customer loyalty and a damaged public reputation.