Security Tips to Protect Your Magento Store from Hackers

For the past couple of decades, the ecommerce industry has been growing at a rapid pace. This progress is amplified due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has compelled people to stay indoors and shop online. Back in 2019, e-commerce sales in the US generated around $41.6 billion and have spanned $72 billion in 2020, and we are still in the middle of the year. This enormous growth has not gone unnoticed by cybercriminals, who are now more active than ever before. They are likely to dig out vulnerabilities on e-commerce platforms like Shopify and Magento, which they can exploit to gain unauthorized access. 

At present, Magento is used by over two hundred and fifty thousand stores or 12% of all online retail stores, including some well-established companies like Land rover, Ford, and Liverpool. So, if you use this platform to power-up your eCommerce store, you need to take control of your customer data immediately. Although touted as one of the safest eCommerce platforms, Magento has had its share of trouble in 2018 when Mage cart attacks make headlines. While no eCommerce platform is a hundred percent secure, the below-mentioned security tips can help protect your customer data. 

Migrate to Magento 2

In September 2018, Magento declared its intention to discontinue supporting the Magento 1, which means Team Magento would not release any more security patches or updates for Magento 1. So, if you have not already migrated to Magento 2, then it is time to do that for security purposes. Magento 2.3 introduces two-factor authentication (2FA), more robust encryption, and a host of other powerful security features. 

The most recent version, the Magento 2.4, was released on the 28th of July 2020, and comes with advanced performance and security features. Downloading the most current version of Magento and upgrading it from time to time is a much-neglected security measure. A cybersecurity blog found that over 83% of breached Magento websites did not have the most recent upgrade installed.

Install an SSL Certificate

Ecommerce stores require the exchange of sensitive data such as financial details and personally identifiable information. So, secure data transmission is essential, and therefore online store owners must buy SSL certificates and install them on the webserver. Due to the increased attacks on e-commerce websites, several authorities have stepped in and laid down cybersecurity guidelines.

For instance, the PCI DSS guidelines must be complied with by anyone who accepts or processes payment cards. Region-wise data privacy laws like the European Union’s GDPR and US-enforced HIPAA also need to be met. These regulations and many others require eCommerce stores to make use of HTTPS, which is only possible when you buy an SSL Certificate that is right for your website. If you have multiple subdomains, consider at least a cheap Wildcard SSL Certificate. However, if you use numerous registered domains, you might have to invest in a Multi-Domain EV SSL Certificate.

Set a custom base and admin login URL

Using the default base URL and Admin login URL on your Magento stores can lead to cyberattacks and avoiding that is much easier than you think. Changing it from the default to a customized URL can serve as a strong defense against the Brute force attack. Since the attackers will not know your login URL, they will not be able to figure out where to use the software to crack the password.

By default, your base URL is http://YourEstoreName.com/magento, and the admin login is http://YourEstoreName.com/magento/admin. However, you can change this by navigating to the Sidebar, Stores, Settings, Configuration, and then ultimately to the Admin Base URL setting. There you can make the necessary changes and customize both the base and the admin login URLs.

Two-Factor Authentication

Few people know that 2FA is no longer a choice for those accepting and processing card payments. The PCI DSS makes it mandatory to implement 2FA, and if you are wondering whether you can do that on your Magento store, then you sure can. Magento supports Google Authenticator, U2F, Authy, and Duo Security for two-factor authentication. So, even if the username and the password are compromised, the additional authentication would foil the attacker’s plans.

Session expiration with a low time limit

Attackers are not always virtual but can also be physical, and when someone around you steals your laptop in which you are logged in, session expiration can help save the day. Session expiry automatically logs the user out in case of inactivity for a predefined period. If someone steals your laptop, you need not worry about the customer data being compromised. Also, as a precautionary measure, always avoid saving passwords on your system.

Secure Hosting Plan

We all like bundled plans because they are cheaper and often come with additional freebies that make it seem like a good bargain. However, doing this with your web hosting plan can be dangerous because e-commerce stores have requirements. So, never opt for one of those shared hosting plans that come with a free SSL because neither is the server secure, not is the certificate going to suffice the purpose.

E-commerce stores need a more secure web hosting plan like the dedicated server plan, which does not involve a shared web server but is solely dedicated to your e-commerce store. Else, when you have a nasty neighbor sharing the same server with you, then it could expose your website to security risks. Also, it is always better to have an SSL certificate that aligns with your website’s architecture because the free ones are almost always DV SSL. As most e-commerce stores use multiple subdomains, investing in at least a cheap Wildcard SSL Certificate makes more sense than settling in for a freebie.

Periodical Security Assessment 

Although necessary security measures are something that you must incorporate, there could be other advanced vulnerabilities that you might not be aware of. Therefore, hiring a cybersecurity expert to run periodic penetration tests and perform a 360-degree security assessment is recommended.

E-commerce websites deal with financial details and are therefore going to be an all-time favorite amongst cybercriminals. So, there is always a possibility that a determined hacker is going to dig out vulnerabilities in Magento or any other e-commerce platform that you can think of. Therefore, it is essential to do all that it takes to keep customer data secure. With the abovementioned tips, you might not be able to stop hackers entirely, but you can always thwart their efforts with measures like 2FA and HTTPS for increased security.

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