Efrat Vulfsons is a data-driven writer parallel to her opera singing career. Efrat holds a B.F.A in Opera Performance.
Quite unlike the regular eCommerce stores, dropshipping is an online business where the store does not need to have the products in stock; it rather purchases the products from a third party and has them shipped directly to the final consumers. Before online shopping became popular due to the widespread use of the internet, traditional stores were not spared from cyberattacks.
They were targeted with the Point of Sales (PoS) and general cyberattacks. The fact that a dropshipping store heavily relies on customer data to effectively operate, is a pointer as to why it will be very attractive to cybercriminals.
Statista reports that as of the 4th quarter of 2020, 8.9% of global phishing attacks were targeted at the eCommerce/retail sector. The cybersecurity concern becomes more pronounced when you have to automate dropshipping activities such as product listings, pricing editing, inventory management, customer email, and promotional campaigns, order fulfillment, monitoring inventory levels, and creating templates for sales orders by using automation software.
An automated dropshipping software system can connect directly to your suppliers and monitor inventory levels. When you run out of stock for a particular product, it is automatically listed as unavailable on your website and any other marketplace where you sell.
While automation is a very important innovation in dropshipping, it’s clear that a lot of data will be involved for an effective transaction. Dropshipping is gaining a lot of recognition; for instance, the dropshipping market in North America has been projected to grow from US$ 36.11 billion in 2019 to US$ 125.45 billion by 2027; growing at a CAGR of 17.6% from 2020 to 2027.
The gigantic growth we see in the dropshipping market may be due to the integration of AI and Chatbots into the business. The growth, however, is also a point of attraction for hackers and If you fail to perfect your security, you become vulnerable to these breaches. Hackers tamper with sensitive customer data; this can lead to loss of sales, customers’ trust, and a dent in your brand’s reputation.
Phishing is the commonest security threat to a dropshipping operator as well as eCommerce stores in general. Hackers can pretend to be your legitimate third-party affiliates and send emails to your clients to trick them into revealing their sensitive information.
Often, they make use of fake domain names that look almost similar to yours. Unsuspecting customers will believe the emails are from your organization and will reveal the information they seek.
To show how prevalent this can be, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Palo Alto Networks' Unit 42 discovered that more than 86,600 newly registered domain names (NRDs) out of the 1.2 million containing keywords related to the COVID-19 pandemic from March 9, 2020, to April 26, 2020, are classified as "risky" or "malicious.
Your team and customers must be wary of clicking on suspicious “you must take this action immediately” looking messages. By falling prey to this type of message you unwittingly give them an entry point to access your sensitive information.
Emails are still very relevant in the conduct of any business and drop shipping has to do its fair share of email. Spammers are not oblivious of this fact. They also leave spammy messages as well as infected links that can be harmful on your blog or contact forms.
They can also send infected links through your social media accounts and expect you to click on them, and once you do, your website security is at risk and your website speed can also slow down.
Bots have always been viewed mostly from the angle of crawling the web to rank websites in Search Engine Result Pages. However, hackers now have another use for them altogether. These Bots will solely scrape your website for pricing and inventory information.
Hackers may decide to use the information they now have to change your online store pricing or amass the best-selling inventory in shopping carts, resulting in a decline in sales and revenue.
Brute force attacks
Hackers use brute force attacks to target your online store’s admin panel, intending to figure out your password. Their style is to use programs that establish a connection to your website and try out different combinations that can crack your password.
You can, however, protect yourself against such attacks by using a strong, complex password and changing it often.
The HTTPS protocol is a must-have, some browsers will even block you from accessing the site. You need an SSL certification from your hosting company to enable you to integrate HTTPS. Other cybersecurity measures you need to take include:
A dropshipping website needs a firewall to keep off intruders and regulate traffic in and out of the site; that way, you can protect your data against malware due to malfunctioning of network traffic. You are also secure from SQL injections and cross-site scripting.
Securing your servers and admin panels
Your passwords may be easy to guess and that puts you in a disadvantaged position since hackers can use brute force attacks to raise the combination. You need to change your password and username often, apart from making them strong and complex.
You can also make your position stronger by ensuring the panel notifies you any time an unknown IP attempts to log in.
It’s not uncommon to have malfunctioning set-ups, especially in automated systems and as a result, data loss. When you don’t have a system in place for data backups, you will lose data, leading to unnecessary downtimes. Fortunately, there are automatic backup services you can use to ensure quality results. It may even be safer if you can use the 3 -2-1 backup strategy.
Use antivirus and anti-malware software
There is no extent hackers cannot go to ensure that they steal customers’ credit card information to place orders from anywhere in the world. But if you can install an antivirus or anti-fraud software, it can help to deal with this serious eCommerce issue.
The software makes use of sophisticated algorithms to flag any malicious transactions to enable you to take further necessary actions. They also provide a fraud risk score which can help dropshipping operators determine if a business transaction is legitimate.
Multi-layered security system
Since hackers are daily becoming tech-savvier, you must not depend on only one security system to counter their threats. A multi-layered approach, where a widespread Content Delivery Network (CDN) and multi-factor authentication are deployed to protect your site against DDoS attacks and malevolent incoming traffic by utilizing machine learning to filter out malicious traffic from regular traffic will confer an additional level of security for a dropshipping store.
Multi-factor authentication can be a combination of username, password, and an extra code that only the user will know in the situation that the password and username are compromised.
Regular plugins updating
Updating plugins and other software may seem a task to any organization, but installing security updates and patches as quickly as possible will save you from a lot of trouble. Hackers can easily deploy bots to identify any website that runs on outdated software and launch attacks.
While the measures above may not be exhaustive, ensuring that you implement them will give you a secure operating base for your automated dropshipping business. Apart from these measures, you also need to train your employees on cybersecurity procedures and compliance. Above all, a zero-trust strategy must be an option you need to consider.
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