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With the winter holidays coming, comes the responsibility to make sure your website is secured. As festive as the holidays are, there are those that would like to spoil it for the rest of us. These cybercriminals know that we’ll be shopping online using our favorite store’s website. It’s predicted that cybercrime will cost the global economy more than $10.5 trillion every year by 2025 and according to the FBI, attackers are especially active during the holiday season.

5 Common Types Of Holiday Season Cyber Attacks

  • SQL Injection. Structured Query Language (SQL) is a programming language that’s used to retrieve data from databases. In an SQL Injection attack, hackers find ways to manipulate this language in order to access the sensitive data stored in these databases. These sorts of attacks can be used to steal everything from customer addresses and passwords to credit card details and gift card numbers and authentication codes.
  • Zero-day attacks. Sometimes software and plugins come with vulnerabilities and weaknesses. In a Zero-day attack, a hacker finds out about these vulnerabilities before the software or plugin developer can produce a fix or patch and gets to work exploiting them. Zero-day attackers have also been known to take advantages of vulnerabilities in third-party JavaScript code that’s used in elements like ads, analytics and widgets. Zero-day attacks often lead to sensitive company or customer data being stolen.
  • Cookie poisoning. Cookie poising attacks see hackers interfering with website cookies. Website cookies are pieces of data about browsing behavior that are passed back and forth between a user’s computer and the servers where the websites they visit are stored. Hackers can alter, forge and steal cookie data. On ecommerce sites, cybercriminals can use cookie poisoning techniques to gain access to user accounts. The can then carry out all sorts of malicious actions, including stealing the sensitive data contained in those accounts and buying items using the account holder’s payment details.
  • Denial of inventory attacks. In these sorts of attacks, hackers use bots to repeatedly add items of stock to carts in order to make the items unavailable to other customers. Often, the attackers then ask store owners to pay them to cease their attack.
  • Brute Force attacks. In Brute Force attacks cybercriminals try to hack into user accounts by repeatedly entering passwords. They take a systematic approach, entering a logical combination of letters, numbers and characters until they discover the correct password.

5 ways to protect your ecommerce site from a holiday cyberattack

Words like SQL Injection, poisoning and Zero-day can sound intimidating, but there are some simple steps you can take to protect your ecommerce site from attacks. Applying the following will raise your security not only for the holidays, but overall.

  • Get an SSL for your site. Secure Sockets Layers (SSLs) certificates encrypt the data that’s shared between a customer using a browser to interact with a website and the server that the website is based on. This means that visitors to a website can fill in forms and add payment information that can’t be intercepted by hackers. SSL certificates come with other benefits, too. They increase customer trust, encouraging more clients to buy from your site. Sites with SSL certificates also rank better in Google searches. The good news it, it’s easy to add an SSL certificate to a site. You just need to buy one from a provider and follow a few simple steps to set it up.
  • Invest in a web application firewall. Website application firewalls intercept and scrutinize all traffic on its way to an ecommerce site. If that traffic is deemed to be suspicious, it is blocked or tested again for authenticity. Web application firewalls can protect against a variety of cyberattacks including the brute force, cookie poisoning, SQL Injections and Denial of Inventory attacks mentioned above.
  • Don’t put off updates. Update alerts can be irritating. However, updates are often released to improve the security levels of a product. Putting off updates leaves your website open to hackers.
  • Set up a scan and alert system. For ultimate peace of mind, you can invest in a security monitoring product. If anything malicious is found on your site, you receive an instant alert through email, SMS or even Slack and a team of experts will get to work purging the threats from your site.
  • Ensure your customers use strong passwords. Even if you have impeccable cyber hygiene standards, you might still be vulnerable to cyberattacks due to the way your customers behave. Many online shoppers are guilty of being lazy when it comes to password use. They use passwords that are easy to crack or they use the same passwords for multiple online accounts, for example. If your ecommerce site is based on WooCommerce, you can add plugins like WPassword, to your site to ensure your customers use strong passwords. If you don’t want to add an additional plugin to your site, you could feature password hygiene information in your welcome email to clients when they set up a new account.


The holidays is the season to be jolly, but also a season to be aware of cybercrime. As said, the worst possible time to suffer an attack or data breach is during the holidays. So this winter be smarter and one step ahead. Protect and update your websites, make a backup, set up auto-updates for vulnerabilities, and have an incident response plan in place. If you need assistance, we’re here for you. This will help you to go and spend the holidays with your family without worrying.

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