5 Easy Steps to Enhance E-commerce Credit Card Security on Your Store

40 percent of worldwide internet users have bought products or goods online via a desktop, mobile, tablet or other online devices. A major portion of these online purchases is made through credit cards. In 2018 alone, payment card fraud worldwide caused a loss of about $24.26 Billion. It’s only been increasing since then. Even after strict guidelines and security standards in place, many online merchants seem to be struggling with e-commerce credit card security.

But worry not. With this article, we have covered all your questions like – How to secure your e-commerce, How to make a safe transaction, What is putting your credit card information at risk, etc. By the end of the blog post, you’ll have refined knowledge as to what e-commerce credit card security is and how to strengthen it.

But before we delve deep into the subject lets take a closer look at – How safe is your credit card data online?

How safe is your credit card data online?

The short answer is – not so much.

See this graph below. It depicts how credit card fraud reports have been increasing steeply over the years. Now, this graph takes into account both online & offline credit card frauds. Online credit card frauds have had quite the same effect over the years.

Credit card fraud: ecommerce credit card security
Credit card fraud over the years (Source: Fool.com)

Further, the infamous data breach instances such as the Equifax data breach, Facebook data breach, Mariott data breach drive the point home. Millions and millions of people were affected by these when their personally identifiable data along with credit card details were stolen by hackers.

In another interesting study American Credit Card Preferences and Habits by Ascent researchers, it was found that credit card data breach only increases as you age. See the table below.

Victims of Credit card data breach (by age)

Since online transactions are card-not-present transactions. During such transactions, the user doesn’t physically present the card for the merchant’s examination, it’s only the data. Hence, it’s difficult for the merchant to confirm the person’s identity. Fraudsters play on this, which compromises both the credit card user and the merchant alike.

Studies also show that 80% of customers do not return to an online retailer after the fraud has taken place. Trust is hard to build and easy to lose.

To our relief, businesses have started to take data security seriously. Many merchants have turned to secure data storage instead of storing it on their website’s server. This is a welcoming change. Data encryption is another security measure we have seen e-traders take on.

But it’s only the start, there is still a long way to go.

How do hackers steal your credit card information?

Moving on. Hackers can steal credit card information in the following ways:

  1. Phishing: Malicious organizations pose as legitimate ones and try to extract credit card information from the users.
  2. Spoofing: Hackers send links of fake websites or links that inject malware into your system which captures the data you enter.
  3. Hacking: Some businesses allow users to store credit card information to make future purchases easier. This information is heavily encrypted. So even if the database is compromised, the actual card details are not easily available to the hackers. However, occasional security flaw renders your data unsafe.
  4. Skimming: Skimmers are electronic devices that thieves install in ATMs or credit card readers at stores. These devices allow the malicious actors to read credit card info when you swipe the card.

The data theft during card-not-present transactions can go unnoticed till your card incurs unauthorized charges. Many fraudsters make a test transaction of a few pennies to check the validity of the card information. These transactions easily go unnoticed. Don’t ignore small, seemingly innocent purchases. They indicate that your card might be compromised.

Related read: How to prevent Magento credit card skimming?

How to be safe while purchasing online?

If you have entered credit card details online ever, it is at risk. When making an online purchase, follow these guidelines for maximum e-commerce credit card security

  1. Give credit card details only to websites that you trust. If you are visiting a website for the first time check for a security seal.
  2. Don’t click on email links asking for credit card information. Verify the sender’s email id. Instead of clicking on the email link, type the web link in a web browser.
  3. Don’t make credit card purchases from public computers or while you are connected to a public network.
  4. Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-malware software in place. Keep your system safe from viruses and malware.
  5. Make sure your payment page is secure. The URL should begin with “https://” alongside a small lock symbol. This adds another layer of security to the transaction.

How to do e-commerce credit card security on your website?

Here are 5 ways you can ensure credit card security on your website:

1. Maintain PCI compliance

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a security standard developed to ensure the safety of credit card data. All organizations that handle credit card transactions are required to adhere to PCI standards. Basic security guidelines defined by PCI include:

    1. Changing the default password of all network equipment
    2. Establishing an active firewall between the internet and the system that stores credit card data
    3. Encrypted transmission of cardholder data
    4. Unique IDs for persons handling the card data
    5. Limited physical access to credit card information etc
PCI-DSS: ecommerce credit card security
PCI-DSS requirements

Merchants who choose to ignore PCI compliance incur fines up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. It will also tarnish your reputation and adversely affect your revenues.

2. Do not store transaction data

PCI standards forbid businesses from storing credit card information of the users. The information includes the 16 -digit card number, the security code, the expiry date as well as the cardholder’s name. This is to ensure that in the unfortunate event of a data breach the customer credit card data is not compromised.

3. Use Credit card security codes

Credit card security code is a three to four-digit code at the back of the card. Verifying this code helps ensure that the buyer is in possession of the card. When the payment is being processed the card issuer replies with a code confirming or rejecting the card’s validity.

CVV: ecommerce credit card security
Credit card security code (Image source: creditcard.com)

4. System alerts for suspicious activity

Depending upon your payment processor and hosting platform you will be able to monitor suspicious activities such as:

    1. Multiple bulk orders paid for by the same card
    2. Multiple similar orders by one person using different cards
    3. Different billing and delivery address.
    4. Sudden frequent purchases by an average customer.

If you use a hosted platform check with your provider what fraud monitoring steps are in place. Get in touch with security experts at Astra for detailed steps to monitor e-commerce credit card security on various e-commerce platforms such as Drupal, OpenCart, Magento, PrestaShop, etc.

5. Website hardening

Website Hardening means adding layers of protection to your website to minimize the chances of any sort of attack. Without proactive security measured you are putting your customer data at risk.

Astra Security offers a wide range of solutions for website hardening. The features range from Firewall and Vulnerability Assessment & Penetration Testing to real-time Malware Scanning and Cleanup. Astra offers tailor-made solutions for different e-commerce platforms. Download the Astra security plugin for Magento, Drupal, OpenCart, WooCommerce, and Prestashop.

Final words

Vulnerable websites with insufficient data security are the largest source of illegally obtained credit card information. Maintain proactive security around your website to ensure e-commerce credit card security. For more detailed measures read our security guide for Magento, OpenCart, Drupal, Prestashop.

Hope this helps. If it didn’t include what you’d have liked to read, let us know in the comments 🙂

Was this post helpful?

Waiting to Get Hacked?

Get security tips & latest vulnerability fixes right in your inbox:

About The Author

Jinson Varghese

Jinson Varghese Behanan is an Information Security Analyst at Astra. Passionate about Cybersecurity from a young age, Jinson completed his Bachelor's degree in Computer Security from Northumbria University. When he isn’t glued to a computer screen, he spends his time reading InfoSec materials, playing basketball, learning French and traveling.You can follow him on Medium or visit his Website for more stories about the various Security Audits he does and the crazy vulnerabilities he finds.

14 Comments

  1. I have started a Magento based eCommerce what important security measures I should consider in the first place?

  2. I own a site that I am running for quite a long time but haven’t added any security to it, How do I secure my e-commerce website?

    • Thanks for responding to our article. As you know, many of the blog and website owners usually focus on the content providing, yes sure it is important but security too is an important task so to stay away from your website from cybercrime, or dark hackers. If you are the one who wants a solution for these problems, then Astra Security can help you. In Astra Security, everything can be managed by a single click. For more information visit here: https://www.getastra.com/

  3. Great article. I would like to know if there are any security concerns with e-commerce?

    • Thanks for responding to our article. Good to know you liked it. So, here are some security concerns with e-commerce
      1) Be sure to use only verified plugins for any e-commerce platform. Plugins can contain malicious code or your data can be stored at the plugin provider. Third parties can do a lot of harm. For example the Facebook Cambridge Analytica issue.
      2) Use trusted payment providers. Payment providers CSN store customer data including credit card data.
      3) Most fragile are databases as your data is stored in a database. Most hacks are done using queries on a badly secured database.
      4) Hackers can recreate your store and use a different URL which almost matches your URL. They cash the money and don’t deliver. People will come to you to complain.

      You can also get a security audit of your website in this case by our experts, visit https://www.getastra.com/website-vapt.

  4. Hello, I have a concern with my site, can you tell me the main security issues with e-commerce and how to prevent them?

    • Thanks for responding to our article. However, you should have shared information like website URL, CMS or tech stack used. Here is the main security issue with e-commerce and how you can prevent it.

      The biggest thing you need to be aware of is shared web hosting. On a shared server, other customers are running their websites and not everyone is the most security-conscious – weak passwords, passwords stored in a file somewhere, you know the deal.

      So what you’ll need to do is make sure that you’ve locked down your file and folder permissions. I recommend 755 for folders, 644 for files, and 640 for config files (Magento’s local.xml for example).

  5. Can you please tell me what are the security requirements I need to have for an e-commerce site?

    • Thanks for responding to the article. Here are some of the basic security requirements of a secure e-commerce site are as follows:

      1) Authentication: Are parties in the transaction who claims to be?
      2) Privacy and confidentiality: Are transactions data protected? The consumer may want to make anonymous purchases. Are all non-essential traces of a transaction removed from the public network and all intermediary records eliminated?
      3) Integrity: Checks that the message sent is complete that is they are not corrupted.
      4) Non-reputability: Ensures the sender cannot deny sending a message.
      5) Availability: How can threats to the community and performance of the system be eliminated?

      Besides the above-mentioned points the concepts of Digital Certificates, Digital signatures, Public key infrastructure, certificate authorities, etc. can be used.

  6. Very good article. I do have a question cause I do a lot of transactions in e-commerce sites, How far can we trust them?

    • Thanks for responding to our article. As you already know, an e-commerce website or any business runs on trust. Trust is a must for any website or business to achieve the organization’s overall goal. An e-commerce website should have to keep different points in mind to build a trusted environment and increase user’s confidence i.e. security, site seal, secure payment options and others.

  7. This is a really good article! Thanks for sharing 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Free Website Security Scanner

Close