The Real Costs of Ecommerce Data Breaches

Data security is essential to surviving the 21st century ecommerce landscape.

A data breach can unlatch a door of disarray for ecommerce businesses.

Compromised data exposes a company to new vulnerabilities.

From leaked trade secrets to disclosed customer addresses, a data breach can quickly transform into a crisis.

Within the past decade, cyber attacks happen more often than companies would like.

In 2013, retail giant Target had more than 110 million of its customers’ credit card and contact information compromised. This breach led to the resignation of its chief executive officer (CEO) and chief information officer the following year.

In another data breach incident, Adobe reported that attackers accessed the IDs and encrypted passwords for 38 million of its active users. An investigation also found that hackers stole the source code for several of its products, including Photoshop.

And in yet another data breach incident, Verizon had 53,000 incidents and 2,216 confirmed data breaches resulting is more than 43,000 successful accesses via stolen credentials in 2018.

Data breaches can endanger an ecommerce business in multiple ways.

  1. There’s the financial costs of hiring security specialists and engineers to seal the breach.
  2. With consumer trust in jeopardy, customers may decide to flee to a competitive alternative.
  3. A breach also brings unfavorable press coverage, damaging a company’s brand reputation.

To minimize the cost of a data breach, businesses must invest in infrastructure that protects its data.

The Data at Risk

Some of the most important transactions happen online. And while a more connected world makes business easier, it also poses a greater risk of proprietary and consumer data theft.

From 2015 to 2017, the most active attack groups compromised an average of 42 organizations.

The motivation behind each data breach varies, but research shows that intelligence gathering influences 90% of attack groups.

Hackers can use stolen information to interfere with business operations.

Hackers may take down websites and start disinformation campaigns against companies.

It’s common for hackers to sell internal business plans, forecasts, and market analyses to competitors, too.

Hackers might steal data for the purposes of extortion.

Hackers feed on an organization’s fear of losing valuable data forever. However, there are no guarantees when giving into an attack group’s demands.

Despite 45% of American companies paying their hackers during a ransomware attack, only 26% of those businesses had their files unlocked.

Consumer data is a primary target during data breaches.

Hackers steal personally identifiable information, like names, addresses, phone numbers, and Social Security numbers to commit identity theft.

Attack groups also steal less common information, such as customers’ favorite sports teams, pet names, dream vacation spots, and places of birth to gain access to financial accounts.

In 2017, identity theft accounted for 69% of all data breach incidents, followed by financial access (16%). Furthermore, malicious outsiders were the leading source of data breaches, resulting in 1,269 incidents.

Hackers leverage this information for financial gain on the dark web.

On an eBay-like marketplace, they post listings of the stolen data and sell it to the highest bidder.

Listings can range in price from less than $1 to about $450.

Twenty dollars is the average price for someone’s identity.

The same stolen information has been known to be sold many times to different bad actors.

Data breaches give hackers free reign to harm ecommerce businesses and their customers.

Data security is a must-have for companies concerned with protecting their data.

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