E-commerce has been on an upward swing in recent years. And with COVID driving many businesses to migrate online, e-commerce is growing faster than ever before, with companies like Amazon and Alibaba at the helm of the virtual ride. But this rapid, transformative, and digital journey is not without its threats and dangers. Ironically, the same emerging technologies enabling the growth of e-commerce also present the most pressing and imminent security threats.
With Great Connectivity Comes Great Responsibility
Medium explains how the Internet of Things (IoT) refers to smart devices connected over the web. This includes everything from smartphones and smart home appliances to web-controllable sensors and switches in industrial equipment. The GPS and web-enabled systems in private cars and cargo vehicles are part of the IoT as well. And so are smart medical health-monitoring devices and specialized industrial sensors. All of this allows the IoT to be used to collect the most comprehensive big data sets on consumer behavior in the history of commerce. It’s also obvious how smartphones have been an integral part of e-commerce growth. With all that being said, each smart device that has access to your network is a potential gateway to stealing you and your customers’ data.
The usefulness of universal connectivity stops at any point that hackers can exploit. This is why the operating systems of our phones and laptops continuously update, and why companies should likewise always practice updating the security software of their own internal systems. As 5G enters the picture and makes the IoT even bigger, these measures are more crucial than ever before.
The Bigger the Data, the Bigger the Threat
Hackers target e-commerce companies because of the large potential for finding financial and other useful data. This risk will be exacerbated by the emerging technologies that will come to dominate e-commerce transactions. Augmented reality (AR) is one such technology, as it allows consumers highly unique perspectives on the items they want to buy. Using advanced AR, all you need is to point your phone at your living room to see how that new couch will look, or turn the camera to yourself to get a preview of how you’ll look in a certain hairstyle. All of these applications and more will enable the creation of new data in the form of actual footage of consumer behavior and their private spaces – potential new avenues for hackers to exploit.
Poor Security Education
All of these threats point to the alarming reality that everyone from consumers to e-commerce executives are still poorly educated in terms of cybersecurity. In fact, there’s been a spike in the national demand for cybersecurity professionals in recent years. But the good news is that some of America’s top universities are already rising up to the challenge. The rapidly growing cybersecurity program at Indiana State University (ISU) for instance has recently partnered with three different tech firms in efforts to meet the growing demand. ISU’s partnerships are aimed at not only enabling distance learning or online coursework for students but also giving them the penetration skills necessary to immediately get cybersecurity positions upon graduation.
This is not a new approach. Any graduate of the long-standing online cybersecurity master’s program at Maryville University is a trained ethical hacking expert who is also a Certified Information Systems Security Professional and EnCase Certified Examiner with a CompTIA Security+ qualification. As those two universities show, companies looking to hire cybersecurity experts to work full time or consult should not be put off by those who have an online degree, as they are just as valid as traditional on-campus degrees.
Armed with professional-level cybersecurity knowledge, you and your team can more confidently tackle threats through consistent security practices and by developing a long-term cyber protection plan. Keep updating these practices and your strategy as cybersecurity changes with the times. Be aware of the dangers you may face as your company adopts new e-commerce technologies. Learn as much as you can about protecting your e-commerce business from the hackers of the future.