Tips to Prevent Ecommerce Fraud during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tag: cyber attacks



COVID-19 has not only changed the way we define a normal life, but also impacted the ecommerce industry massively. Online businesses have had to change many of their usual practices to survive during these challenging times. Moreover, even the customers had to change the way they shop and the way they transact online. However, these rapid changes come with the increased risk of online frauds. Fraudulent activities like spamming, phishing and stealing of identity can be damaging to both businesses and to the shoppers. In order to safeguard your business and your customers against such cyber attacks, here are some tips for enhanced security.

  1. Beware of Trends: The most challenging aspect of online frauds is their versatility. These frauds may take place in a variety of ways, through stealing of password or the use of Trojan virus. In order to safeguard your business and your business associates, it is important that you are aware of the latest types of frauds perpetrated. Some of the most common online scams during the current crisis are retail arbitrage, reselling and account takeover. It is important to be aware of these trends so that you are not caught off-guard. It is equally vital that you spread this information among your associates, as the pandemic outbreak has made everyone more susceptible to scams and frauds.
  2. Choose the Right Payment Gateway: As more and more people are relying upon ecommerce businesses for fulfilling their requirements, there has been an unprecedented increase in online payments. In such cases, it is important for online businesses to choose reliable payment processing service providers. If your payment provider has a solid track record, you can minimize the possibility of online frauds for your own business and your associates. High quality payment processors use state of the art technologies to protect their systems against any cyber attacks. They also tweak their processes in line with the latest attack trends. This will also ensure that your system does not break down under the pressure of increased payments and transactions.
  3. Disseminate Information: As important as it is to be aware of different online scams, it is equally necessary to keep your employees and associates fully informed as well. You can conduct seminars or workshops to keep your employees updated about such scams. You can also send newsletters or pamphlets to your clients about various precautions they can take to minimize the possibility of online frauds. This exercise may help you in creating a positive rapport with your client base as well. You can enhance your goodwill while bonding with your clients and ensuring their safety at the same time. You may also apprise them of critical points to watch out for.
  4. Be Proactive: During these difficult times, it pays to be proactive. While you should keep your tools and programs updated, you should also remain aware of any uncommon or strange transactions and incidents. For example, you should carry out an extensive check if you notice a new account making significant transactions. In case of an old account making unusual purchases, it would be prudent to cross-verify the details. Such vigilance can not only save your business but may also provide extra security to your customers. Similarly, you should ask your associates to remain vigilant about any red flags.
  5. Use Common Sense: It’s true that almost all businesses are facing hard times due to the COVID outbreak. However, common sense should still prevail. So, remain as watchful as you would be during normal times, and exercise the same type of caution, if not more. Encourage your customers to change passwords regularly and make sure they are as complex as possible. Do not click on any suspicious link and never ever reveal your own passwords to anyone. You should also remain in close contact with your clients so that they know the real time status of their transactions. Such monitoring will help in reducing the possibility of any frauds or scams.

Like any uncertain or chaotic situation, the current pandemic has many hackers and spammers to become more active than usual. But by following these simple tips, you can keep your business safe and secure.

Good Cyber security Habits by Which to Live

Good Cyber security Habits by Which to Live

Cyber security is an extremely important concept in today’s interconnected world. The significance of this phenomenon has been recognized through the fact that organizations now carry out formal educational seminars to make its employees aware of dangers in the cyber world and the ways to tackle them. There are certain ways you can ensure the safety of your business and data from cyber frauds.

  1. Create Awareness: the first step in ensuring the cyber security is to make all the users aware of cyber attacks, their consequences and the ways to avert them. Many times, employees believe that cyber security is the responsibility of IT department. However, this is not true as most of the cyber threats mainly arise due to certain actions taken by employees outside the IT department. It is important to empower your employees to ensure that they carry out best practices. This exercise should be undertaken by businesses of all sizes and sectors. With elevated awareness, your staff can become a major force in averting cyber attacks.
  2. Use Technology: since cyber threats have become more prevalent due to advancement and proliferation of technology, it is only sensible that the same technological tools are used to fight against it. First step in this direction is to institute Two Factor Authentication system which is also known as 2FA, to access enterprise resources. The first factor is generally the password generated by the user while second factor is delivered through electronic means such as text message or email. In certain cases, you may choose to use biometrics as second measures. Such biometrics may take form of finger print or retina scanning.
  3. Healthy Online Habits: in order to ensure that your employees are following the guidelines, it may be important to set up certain filters. These web filtering tools may restrict access to specific websites or URLs. Further, these filters may also help in managing the links opened by the employees. However, the first step in this direction should be to educate the employees about safe practices. They should be counseled to not click on unknown links sent through emails or texts. The employees should be advised to limit their web surfing to safe sites only as many dodgy websites are known to implant virus on computers which may sabotage the entire corporate network.
  4. Make Passwords Stronger: employees should be educated about the importance of stronger passwords. The passwords are required to be not just long but also complex to provide appropriate kind of security. Ideally, it should be a combination of letters, numbers and special symbols. Further, the passwords must also be changed frequently. Employees should be advised not to share their password with anyone within or without the organization. It should also be noted that unique passwords should be created for different services and not repeated.
  5. Install Updates: in cyber world, threats arise on daily basis. In order to provide protection against them, most of the apps and websites push constant updates. It is highly important that all such updates including security patches should be installed on regular basis. Keeping the apps and programs updated ensures that you have reasonable security against various cyber threats. Proper attention should also be paid to updating default privacy settings. All the devices and accounts used in a firm should undergo this exercise.
  6. Make Cyber Security Practices a Habit: while organizations may institute various policies to ensure cyber security, it is equally important to ensure that these policies are followed by the employees in a prompt and regular manner. Employees should be aware that they do not leave sensitive information lying around. Further, this type of information should be shared with only concerned people and not everyone else. Organizations should carry out periodic checks to see that the policies are being implemented. The employees should also be educated about such practices on regular basis.

As most of the businesses now have online presence, it is important to ensure that your business as well as your clients are secure against online threats. By following some simple rules, you can have a blanket of safety against cyber attacks and keep your data safe from such threats.

Understanding the Risks – The explosion of cyber-fraud and why you need to protect your business

Understanding the Risks – The explosion of cyber-fraud and why you need to protect your business

As more and more businesses are going online, the incidents of cyber-fraud are also increasing manifold. As cyber attack can have catastrophic impact on a business, it is important to ensure that your online venture is adequately protected against such frauds. Such attacks can be especially devastating for small and medium sized online businesses. Online attacks can not only shake the foundations of your business but may also expose your collaborators and customers to potential abuse. In order to keep your business safe and sound, it is imperative that you fully understand the concept of cyber fraud and take appropriate measures.

What is a Cyber Fraud?

Cyber frauds are also known as cyber crimes or internet frauds. These are the frauds which are mainly perpetrated through internet and involve misrepresentation. Cyber frauds may be perpetrated in a variety of ways including attacks against computer software and hardware. Such crimes may also take the form of financial frauds and identity theft. Either way, the businesses may be hit hard with such crimes and it is important to take anticipatory actions so as to keep the business and its clients safe.

Types of Cyber Frauds

Cyber frauds may be perpetrated in a variety of ways. Some frauds involve setting up malicious codes on computers and stealing the vital details, while others may involve sending spoof and phishing mails. Some other types of internet frauds are charity fraud, tax frauds and online gift card fraud. In many cases, the website may be attacked using fake traffic, denying services to their genuine customers. Such attacks are called DDoS and may lead to theft of customers’ data.

Steps to Protect Your Business

While cyber attacks have become commonplace, it is important that businesses take steps to minimize the damage caused by them. Following are some of the main steps which may help you in protecting your business and your clients.

  • Take a Proactive Approach: Businesses should not wait for a cyber attack to happen and instead should remain prepared to counter it. It is important that you anticipate different ways your business may be vulnerable to cyber attacks. The top management should also devise the methods to counter such risks as and when they happen. For this purpose, periodic analysis of the cyber fraud landscape should be undertaken. The businesses should also identify their most critical functions and should take extra precautionary measures to protect them.
  • Take Comprehensive View: Cyber frauds may focus on damaging your online presence through software or they may focus on harming your hardware. It is imperative that businesses take comprehensive approach towards safeguarding itself against online attacks. The software side of precautions involves the installation of antivirus and other software, while the hardware side of action includes the protection of hardware through the use of locking devices and supervised access to the machines. The physical safety of the machines is also important as their loss may lead to the loss of vital information.
  • Make it a Team Work: Protecting the business against the cybercrimes is not just the responsibility of the IT department but of all the employees. Organizations should take measures to educate all its employees against cyber threats. The employees should also be updated about security measures undertaken to protect the operations against online crimes. The use of company resources by the employees should also be closely monitored. In many cases, the frauds are committed through infected software installed by the employees on company computers. Such installation may be deliberate or accidental, however, in both the cases the results may turn out to be catastrophic for the business. Therefore, the organization should check both types of actions.
  • Built-in Security Measures: in order to ensure security of the business, it is imperative that its various policies and procedures are designed in such a manner so as to minimize the possibility of such attacks happening in the first place. The company’s IT resources should be carefully checked and monitored on a periodical basis and any loophole found should be patched in a prompt manner.

With the help of the above steps, organizations can not only protect themselves and their clients against online frauds but may also enhance their efficiency and reliability.

Worried About Cyber Security?

Worried About Cyber Security?

A small business owner comes to his office at 9 o’clock as usual and starts his day by checking his emails. He also checks his bank account online in order to upload the payroll sheet and release the salary of his employees, but he is shocked to see that there is no money in his account. Worried, he calls up his bank and enquires about his account status.

The bank customer service tells him that the previous day, there was a transaction made from an unknown location and the funds have already been diverted to another account. In 2012 alone, some 6.5 million LinkedIn accounts and 1.5 million eHarmony accounts had been hacked.

It is not uncommon, so even if you own a small business, you are not immune to these predators and hackers. There are many inexpensive software programs that can be used to hack your account or website. All you need to do to crack a password is to buy a $300 graphic card and you will be able to run 420 billion simple lowercase password combinations every minute.

The big companies have the budget and resources to protect themselves from cyber attacks. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) more than 50% of small business owners complained that they were subjected to a cyber attack in 2013 in the US.

In this article, we will suggest some of the most trusted methods to prevent cyber attacks.

  1. Stay alert

The first measure you can take against cyber criminals is to stay alert, because they know that the small businesses are vulnerable in terms of security. You can be a soft target because these criminals know that if you have regular cash flow, then you are also likely to have money available in your account.

  1. Use messaging apps with encrypted data transfer feature

Messaging apps are quite common and people randomly download it from Google Play and some other resources and start interacting with their colleagues and friends.

People also send files and other important data through these apps. In order to minimize the probability of data leaks, use secure messaging apps only.

  1. Be smart with your passwords

Many people do not change their passwords because of laziness and convenience, but it can be disastrous. From your email account to software and bank account, you should choose hack proof passwords and change them frequently. It is found that more than 55% people keep the same password for all their logins, which makes the task of a hacker much easier.

  1. Don’t use vulnerable software programs and browsers

It is important to know that old versions of software and browsers can be vulnerable to security threats as many software programs and browsers automatically save your passwords. If somebody is able to hack into your browser or software, they may also get access to your passwords. So, use the latest versions of browsers and software programs.

  1. General precautions

General precautions include using your own devices and computers, installing reputed antivirus software, and not sharing your passwords even with your employees unless it is inevitable and warranted by the circumstances. Change your passwords as soon as the employee who had access to your passwords leaves your organization.

  1. Enable 2-step authentication for all your accounts

A two-step authentication involves the login confirmation through a One Time Password to be sent to your mobile device. Prominent email service providers such as Gmail and Yahoo and banks use two-step verification.

  1. Secure your connected devices on Wi-Fi

If your mobile phone or tablet is connected to your company network, use pin code protection. Don’t use free Wi-Fi available at public places. You can rather use your own virtual private network and your own Wi-Fi hotspot.

  1. Make cyber security a habit

There is no written code of conduct or set of rules related to cyber security. You should make it a habit to implement cyber security at every level. Do not click links you do not trust, especially those that are sent by unknown senders both on social media and email. Do not use an infected USB drive.

  1. Use multi layer security if you are using Cloud

Using Cloud is a convenient and easy option for data storage for many companies and that’s the reason they use it to dump all their data.

However, that’s not a good practice from security point of view. Data should be segregated according to sensitivity and criticality. Multi layer security and permissions should be implemented preventing unauthorized people to access your important data.

Final thoughts
In the end, security is not just about preventing someone from unauthorized access; it is also about convenience and confidence to do things that you need to do to keep you in business.