E-commerce Trending Cyber Security Threats

  • November 14, 2021
  • By Cyberarch Admin
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E-Commerce Fraud

Internet commerce or electronic commerce is called as e-commerce which is the activity of buying or selling products electronically on online services or over the internet and also do fund transfer and exchange data. E-Commerce, the name itself explains that the commerce happens electronically where the buyer-sellers meet online. Online stores such as Amazon, EBay, Alibaba are examples of E-Commerce websites. There are four traditional ecommerce business models as shown below

  • B2C – Business to consumer.
  • B2B – Business to business.
  • C2B – Consumer to business.
  • C2C – Consumer to consumer.

E-Commerce fraud is happing in one way or another due to the rise of new technology, data processing systems, and different payment methods. For example, when a fraudster makes a purchase from a merchant and use fraudulent way to pay using fake or stolen credit cards, the merchant will be left without any payment received for the sale that was done. But fraud is not limited for credit cards alone but also for other methods such as online banking too. The more popular the brand is, the more it becomes the target for online frauds.

Currently e-commerce is the fastest growing industries in the global economy as it is expected to be a $27 trillion industry. As this sector is expanding rapidly, it has become an easy target for cyber security threats. As fraudsters became more sophisticated with the technology, e-commerce fraud has substantially increased. This may seem like news but one day it may happen to one of us too as almost everyone is purchasing something at a point of time online. We will be covering most common frauds that is taking place in the e-commerce and hence advice you to be vigilant.

E-Commerce fraud comes in many ways and below we will list out each type of fraud.

Identity Theft

Most common among e-commerce frauds that worry the merchant are identity theft. Identity theft may be anything varying from username, passwords, card details, etc. A hacker who gets hold of this information will use it and sell it to other criminals and benefit from that too. Apart from this Hackers will target personal information such as name, address, email address, etc. to appropriate someone’s identity. If the customer information is stored in the server is not secured properly then hackers will easily get away with it. Hackers achieve this by different means of attacks such as SQL injection, Man in the middle attack, Cross Site Scripting and URL Redirection etc.

Refund Fraud

This is one of the common fraud taking place in e-commerce where a fraudster makes an online purchase will overpay the merchant from the stolen card. They may have gathered the information through the above mention fraud called as “Idenity Theft”. once the transaction was done and the payment was approved, they will initiate a refund stating that the overpayment was accidental. When the vendor accepts for the refund of the excess money that was paid, fraudster will ask the vendor to pay using alternative methods stating that the card was closed. This results in business owner paying the full amount to the original card owner as the refund is not made to the same card.

Friendly Fraud or Chargeback Fraud

This happens when a fraudster makes an online purchase and then raise a dispute with the payment processor claiming that the transaction was invalid or their card was stolen. Moreover, they may inform their card provider that they haven’t received the refund yet even after returning the product or may say that the product was sent to them even after the order was cancelled. In rare cases the individual raising a dispute stating that the card was stolen may be right and hence the word friendly is used. But as fraudsters use this technique a lot, it is called as friendly fraud.

Clean Fraud

Clean Fraud needs certain skill to pull it off. Much information is needed for this fraud to work than the friendly fraud where only stolen card is needed. Here the fraudster actually needs to work a lot to gather more information such as complete verified cardholder data and IP Addresses etc. This makes the purchase looks legitimate and helps criminals to bypass fraud detection system as they have sound analysis about fraud detection system and moreover they are using legitimate data of the card owner. So basically clean fraud helps the cyber-criminal make the purchase, but the transaction is manipulated in such a way that it circumvents the fraud detection system.

Card Testing Fraud

Card testing also known as card cracking fraud accounts for almost 16% of all e-commerce fraud. Card testing fraud happens when fraudsters has access to more than one stolen cards and want to know whether those card can be used successfully and the card limit. Initially to test the cards, fraudsters use to make small test purchase using multiple card numbers quickly using script or something. The reason of this extremely small purchase is to test which card completes the transaction. Once they have identified the working cards, then they will make huge purchases. Initially affected customers and merchants don’t realize that they have been the victims of card testing fraud as small purchases go unnoticed. Once a large purchase is made, they will understand that they have been the victim of a fraud.

Interception Fraud

This is another kind of tactics followed by the cyber-criminals. When a purchase is made using stolen cards, fraudster will provide the same billing address and shipping address that is linked with the credit card while making an online purchase on your ecommerce site. Once the order is placed they will use different techniques to achieve this fraud. They call the customer support and ask the support agent to make a change in address to the order placed so that he can get away with the product. Another way is when the product is arriving; they may call the courier/shipper like FedEx and ask them to deliver the product to an address which is nearby the actual address or they may actually talk to the delivery guy and ask him to provide the product to them in the midway.s


Several e-commerce shops have received reports of their customers receiving messages or emails from hackers masquerading to be the legitimate store owners. Such fraudsters present fake copies of your website pages or another reputable website to trick the users into believing them. For example, see this image below. A seemingly harmless and authentic email from PayPal asking to provide details.


Some bad players can send infected links via email or social media inboxes. They can also leave these links in their comments or messages on blog posts and contact forms. Once you click on such links, they will direct you to their spam websites, where you may end up a victim.

Mass-mailed malware infection can quickly morph into a much more serious problem

Apart from lowering your website security, spamming also reduces its speed and severely affects performance.

DOS & DDoS Attacks

Many e-commerce websites have incurred losses due to disruptions in their website and overall sales because of DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. What happens is that your servers receive a deluge of requests from many untraceable IP addresses causing it to crash.


Hackers may design a malicious software and install on your IT and computer systems without your knowledge. These malicious programs include spyware, viruses, Trojan horses, and ransomware.

The systems of your customers, admins, and other users might have Trojan Horses downloaded on them. These programs can easily swipe any sensitive data that might be present on the infected systems and may also infect your website.

Exploitation of Known Vulnerabilities

Attackers are on the lookout for certain vulnerabilities that might be existing in an e-commerce store. Often an e-commerce store is vulnerable to SQL injection and Cross-site Scripting (XSS). Let’s take a quick look at these vulnerabilities:

SQL Injection

It is a malicious technique where a hacker attacks your query submission forms to access your database. They corrupt your database with an infectious code, collect data, and later wipe the trail.


Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

The attackers can plant a malicious JavaScript snippet on your e-commerce store to target your online visitors and customers. Such codes can access your customers’ cookies and compute. You can implement the Content Security Policy to prevent such attacks.



Some attackers develop special bots that can scrape your website to get information about inventory and prices. Such hackers, usually your competitors, can then use the data to lower the prices in their websites in an attempt to lower your sales and revenue.

Brute force

The online environment also has players who can use brute force to attack your admin panel and crack your password. These fraudulent programs connect to your website and try out thousands of combinations in an attempt to obtain the password. Always ensure to use strong, complex passwords that are hard to guess. Additionally, always change your passwords frequently.

Man in The Middle

A hacker may listen in on the communication taking place between your e-commerce store and a user. Walgreens Pharmacy Store experienced such an incident. If the user is connected to a vulnerable Wi-Fi or network, such attackers can take advantage of that.


E-skimming involves infecting a website’s checkout pages with malicious software. The intention is to steal the clients’ personal and payment details.

Are you an e-commerce business person? Don’t downplay the seriousness of these e-commerce security threats.

E-commerce security solutions that can ease your life

HTTPS and SSL certificates

HTTPs protocols not only keep your users’ sensitive data secure but also boost your website rankings on Google search page. They do so by securing data transfer between the servers and the users’ devices. Therefore, they prevent any interception. Do you know that some browsers will block visitors’ access to your website if such protocols are not in place? You should also have an updated SSL certificate from your host.

Anti-malware and Anti-virus software

An Anti-Malware is a software program that detects, removes, and prevents infectious software (malware) from infecting the computer and IT systems. Since malware is the umbrella term for all kinds of infections including worms, viruses, Trojans, etc getting an efficient Anti-Malware would do the trick.

On the other hand, Anti-Virus is a software that was meant to keep viruses at bay. Although a lot of Anti-virus software evolved to prevent infection from other malware as well. Securing your PC and other complementary systems with an Anti-Virus keeps a check on these infections.

Securing the Admin Panel and Server

Always use complex passwords that are difficult to figure out, and make it a habit of changing them frequently. It is also good to restrict user access and define user roles. Every user should perform only up to their roles on the admin panel. Furthermore, make the panel to send you notifications whenever a foreign IP tries to access it.

Securing Payment Gateway

Avoid storing the credit card information of your clients on your database. Instead, let a third party such as PayPal and Stripe handle the payment transactions away from your website. This ensures better safety for your customers’ personal and financial data. Did you know storing credit card data is also a requirement for getting PCI-DSS compliant? Read the full guidelines here.

Deploying Firewall

Effective firewalls keep away fishy networks, XSS, SQL injection, and other cyber-attacks that are continuing to hit headlines. They also help in regulating traffic to and from your online store, to ensure passage of only trusted traffic.

Educating Your Staff and Clients

Ensure your employees and customers get the latest knowledge concerning handling user data and how to engage with your website securely. Expunge former employees’ details and revoke all their access to your systems.

Additional security implementations

  • Always scan your websites and other online resources for malware
  • Back up your data. Most e-commerce stores also use multi-layer security to boost their data protection.
  • Update your systems frequently and employ effective e-commerce security plugins.



Cyber-security is very important if you are to succeed online. Hackers are getting better at their games, which means you need a dedicated team that will stay updated with security issues and provides around-the-clock protection to your websites.

here are some additional helpful resources :

Cyberarch Consulting has a strong record of helping business secure their network/servers. We help you become Compliance ready by conducting Penetration Testing based on the compliance requirement. Our security professionals with many years of experience who holds industry standard best certifications will help you find and patch the security loopholes and secure your business.


Author : Mesach.M – Senior Security Consultant at Cyberarch Consulting

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