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Security Issues And Solutions In E Commerce Applications

2185 words - 9 pages

Security Issues and Solutions in Ecommerce Applications

The rise in popularity of conducting business online via ecommerce sites has not gone unnoticed by hackers and other cyber-criminals. A rise in the number of transactions and an increase in businesses that have an online presence have provided hackers with increased opportunities to exploit security vulnerabilities in ecommerce applications for personal profit, at the expense of legitimate businesses and users. A successful attack can result in downtime, the theft of user financial and personal information, loss of revenue, and loss of customers. This paper will offer an overview of some common types of security vulnerabilities and ...view middle of the document...

There are a number of things that can be done to reduce a web site’s vulnerability to SQL injection. These tactics include using stored procedures for database access, filtering and escaping input data, limit database user permissions and access, and encrypting data. By using stored procedures, SQL can be eliminated entirely and “by encapsulating the rules for a certain action - query, update, delete, etc. - into a single procedure, it can be tested and documented on a standalone basis and business rules enforced.” By filtering and escaping user input for any malicious code input, those statements can’t be executed as separate queries by the database in an injection attempt. In limiting database user permissions and access, the developer must limit the tables each web site’s database user has access to on the web server. Additionally, the web site’s database user should also never have server administrative privileges to minimize the amount of damage that can be done in an SQL injection. Finally, encrypting all user information in the database will add an additional layer of information protection, as hackers won’t have access to raw user data if an SQL injection attack is successful.

Another common attack on ecommerce sites is the Denial of Service (DoS) attack. A DoS attack is “an attack in which a large number of requests for service or access to a site bombard a system, which causes it to crash or become unable to respond in time.” Hackers are able to bring sites down by flooding the target server with packets, overloading bandwidth and memory, thus preventing legitimate users from being able to access the site. This can affect the ecommerce site itself, but common targets also include credit card payment gateways and bank sites, which can affect the flow of ecommerce transactions. There are a number of variations of DoS attacks, with the most popular being the amplification of attacks through the use of zombie machines, dubbed the Distributed Denial of Service attack.

While DoS attacks do not usually result in the theft of user information such as in the case of SQL injection, they have the ability to bring entire sites down. Hackers have varying motives which can range from making a political statement, mischief, or even to drive traffic to a competing ecommerce site. This can result in significant loss of revenue and a tarnished reputation for sites that do a significant amount of transactions online. Many large online retailers have been the victim of DoS attacks, notably the sites of Amazon, Paypal, Visa, and Mastercard in one high-profile attack in 2010 that resulted in downtime for several hours.

There is no way to completely prevent DoS attacks, as no technique or commercial product can completely guarantee that a single user connection is legitimate rather than a bot that intends to flood the system. However, there are a number of things that can be done to mitigate vulnerability to DoS attacks. These include...

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