As e-commerce purchases surged after state governments imposed stay-at-home directives, online scam activities rose. Scammers have made online retailing their top target. How can you protect your business?
Global crisis creates opportunities for cybercriminals
Before the pandemic, online criminals focused heavily on the retail sector only during the holiday seasons. But when stores closed due to the pandemic, online purchases of household essentials, gadgets, and other items became the norm. Overall, online sales in the U.S. increased by around 30% in April and May over the previous year. This sudden increase in site traffic made online retailers and consumers an appealing target for phishing, domain spoofing, malware, and even counterfeit goods.
Hackers resorted to imitating major retail brands, such as Walmart and Costco. The goal was to steal from unsuspecting buyers as they shop for their weekly essentials or get coronavirus-related information online. IT security company Mimecast detected several coronavirus-related scams in the past months:
- Spam messages offering fake goods such as protective masks or COVID-19 cures
- Fake domains that are either imitating retail brands or posing as a new sellers of COVID-19-related goods
- Email phishing campaigns that target consumers working from home to click on unsafe links promising information about the coronavirus, sales of essential items, or pandemic-related office policies
What can you do to protect your employees and consumers?
Nowadays, selling online is no longer just about setting up an eye-catching, functional website. Say, you closed your jewelry store downtown. You could turn to sleek web design and luxury product photos using jewelry photo retouching services to impress and attract customers. But you’d also have to go the extra mile to make sure the site and the rest of your business network are secure.
- Pay attention to your workers’ home networks
Cybercriminals can target home networks to “piggyback” into business networks. Train your employees working from home to be wary of using any non-encrypted applications or email from home.
- Ask your employees and consumers to change passwords regularly
Be sure that your e-commerce site is protected from malware, especially ransomware. Ransomware locks users out of their devices or accounts and demands an anonymous online payment to restore access. Apart from having an SSL certificate and employing multi-factor authentication, remind your employees and consumers to change and strengthen their passwords for your e-commerce site regularly.
- Be wary of dealing with consumers online
Since your employees now assist customers online, create a program on best practices for digital communications. They must be vigilant against cybercriminals trying to collect business data via platforms outside a protected network, such as messaging apps or even their personal mobile device.
- Protect company-issued devices
Though hackers often use malware and other techniques to access e-commerce sites or company networks, sometimes they rely on one tiny mistake of an employee. Human errors as simple as leaving a work device for a child to accidentally click on suspicious links or send business data to unauthorized individuals can put your entire business at risk. Be sure to remind your team to protect work devices.
As your business shifts to online platforms, operational adjustments, including boosting cybersecurity, are necessary. Running a business amidst the pandemic is hard enough; don’t let hackers make the situation even worse.