Ecommerce has become a major industry during the past few decades. With more people connected to the Internet than ever, the opportunities for online retailers have exploded in recent years.
However, this huge potential has inevitably opened the door to more data security challenges, as cybercriminals and hackers are also taking advantage of online shopping habits to exploit vulnerabilities and make some extra money for themselves.
According to online security researcher Brian Krebs, PayPal has emerged as one of the most enticing ecommerce targets. Cybercriminals are not merely stealing personal information from PayPal and keeping it for themselves. Instead, that information is being sold on online forums for profit.
Krebs stated that the majority of PayPal accounts for sale were stolen through phishing attacks. He also speculated that a large portion were likely hijacked through password-stealing Trojans.
This could have a disastrous impact on the online shopping market. According to eBay, PayPal's parent computer, PayPal ended the second quarter of 2011 with more than 100 million active accounts and pulled in a net total of $28.7 billion in payments.
Krebs noted that many of these PayPal accounts are directly attached to the user's bank account, meaning cybercriminals could potentially use the information to withdraw funds from the user's savings or checking accounts. If consumers are not confident that their information is safe on PayPal, they may be unwilling to spend online, which could have serious implications for the economy.
The emergence of mobile ecommerce adds another complication to the matter. eBay anticipates it will see more than $3 billion in mobile payments in 2011, which is a significant increase from the $750 million last year. Furthermore, a study from G Data found that malware targeting mobile devices increased 273 percent in the first half of 2011.
Tablet users especially have shown an inclination to shop online. A recent Wall Street Journal report asserted that tablet users are more likely to make purchases online than smartphone or traditional PC users. Tablet users also tend to make bigger purchases – sometimes as much as 20 percent more than the average online shopper. As malware and other cyberthreats targeting these mobile devices continue to rise, the discussion of protecting tablets will need to take greater precedent.
According to a recent report from the World Retail Congress, global ecommerce sales are expected to grow by more than 10 percent between now and 2015. As this trend unfolds, both retailers and consumers must refine their data protection practices to ensure sensitive information stays out of the hands of those who would exploit it for personal gain.
Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro