Top threats to online retailers this holiday season


Top threats to online retailers this holiday season

It should come as no surprise in today’s hyper-connected world that shoppers are spending more and more money online.

By Anthony Perridge (OPINION)

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Published: Sun 22 Dec 2013, 9:51 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:13 AM

Even in the midst of a slow economic recovery, retailers reported record sales on Cyber Monday in 2012. This trend is set to continue, as highlighted in the 2013 eCommerce Cyber Crime Report: Safeguarding Brand and Revenue This Holiday Season commissioned by RSA and conducted by the Ponemon Institute. This is great news for everyone in eCommerce including cyber criminals. In fact, research supports a correlation between high traffic days and the likelihood of a cyber security intrusion.

So what are the top threats online merchants face and should be especially worried about on Cyber Monday? The results may surprise you. According to the report, Denial of Service (DDoS) is the top threat facing online merchants today. This is followed by app store fraud and mobile malware that captures account credentials.

Unless used as a diversionary tactic, a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack doesn’t net the criminal any direct financial gain like app store fraud and mobile malware. On the other hand, it costs the web retailer dearly. The Ponemon report found that just a single hour of downtime can cost on online retailer over $500,000 in lost traffic and revenues. In addition, the brand damage can exceed $3.4 million.

The report also details six additional attacks online retailers should watch for including click fraud, shopping cart abuse, fake websites branded with the victim’s logos, and, of course, account takeover. Many of these attacks are launched by mimicking the behaviour of legitimate users and can be difficult to detect with traditional security solutions. When analysed through the lens of RSA Silver Tail’s behavioural analytics, however, the anomalies become evident and the steps to mitigate are simplified.

In fact, according to our customers and the results from the 2012 Ponemon report, many businesses assume they need multiple tools — one for account reporting, another to scrub logs and also a tool for case management (not to mention the respective teams to detect and investigate such threats).

However, RSA Silver Tail can be used alone to identify and mitigate the threats while reducing the need for manual review, saving companies valuable resources and delivering ROI.

Given the state of today’s web threat environment, RSA Silver Tail should top the wish list of any online retailer this holiday season.

The writer is the EMEA channel director at Sourcefire, now a part of Cisco. Views expressed by the author are his own and do not reflect the newspaper’s policy

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