3 Important Cyber Security Tips for Black Friday

It’s that time of year where both retailers and shoppers all over America are gearing up towards the most anticipated shopping sale of the season. For what has always been a chaotic and crazy spree of shopping, the ‘Dreaded Black Friday Sale’ is only a few days away. The growing advances and comfort in technology expose e-commerce retailers equally to this chaos and madness, and thus one should be aware of few cybersecurity tips to help build a secure environment. Approximately 96 million Americans are estimated to be taking advantage of the steep discounts being offered by retailers this Black Friday.

In 2014, on Black Friday, it is reported that mobile devices drove 52% of all the internet traffic in the US. Adobe also reported a $2.4 Billion online sale record for Black Friday in the same year. The number is only expected to grow in 2015.

Amidst the great deals is also a haven for cybercriminals. Detecting a cybercriminal during this time is like finding a needle in a haystack, thanks to the high volumes of transactions. This shopping frenzy provides the perfect cover.

Following the two biggest data breaches in recent times with Target and Home Depot, governing authorities are making data breaches punishable, for businesses with insufficient cybersecurity.

Here are few important cybersecurity tips before the Black Friday Sale for e-commerce businesses to consider:

1. Ensure your libraries are updated:

Be it Android, iOS or any other mobile platform, developers have access to hundreds of libraries to accomplish different tasks in an application. There are libraries for testing, user interfaces, notifications, weather, music, augmented reality, and much more. Libraries help make life easier for developers because they don’t have to reinvent the wheel for many basic functions. While that makes their job easier, the issue is that often outdated or old libraries are the targets of dedicated strategic cyber attacks. Developers of these libraries often would release updates to fix these issues; hence it is important to manage updates as they come.

2. Use encrypted web addresses while pulling data:

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. HTTPS pages typically use one of two secure protocols to encrypt communications – SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security). To implement an HTTPS connection, you will need an SSL certificate. Why is it needed? Well, in simple words, all the communication sent over a regular HTTP connect are in plain text and can be read by any hacker. The situation becomes grave if you are trying to get a payment from a customer. Details filled in the form, like the credit card, social security number, etc. can be read by hackers as well. With an HTTPS connection, all communications are securely encrypted. This means that even if somebody managed to break the connection, they would not be able to decrypt any of the data which passes in between.

3. Security Audit by Professionals to ensure your mobile app is hack proof:

A regular review of architectural stability by a developer may not be enough to ensure the security of an app as they often limit their work to the technical functionalities. For full-proof security, a dedicated security expert should review the code to analyze possible vulnerabilities in specific areas such as authentication & authorization parts, database access, input, and the output & use of cryptography etc. that may be prone to cyber attacks. Source code in a lot of cases is not easily shared due to high sensitivity. In such cases, businesses can consider using tools which offer a thorough analysis using a Binary scan.

Data breaches are inevitable, it’s primarily a question of how fast businesses can identify these threats and loopholes and respond to it accordingly. It is often said prevention is better than cure; it’s no exception to mobile app security. Ensuring you take the right security measures can possibly save your business hundreds and thousands of dollars.

Published on Nov 24, 2015
Darell Khin
Written by Darell Khin


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