Unmasking Cybercrime Threats During Back-to-School Shopping with Web Application and API Protection

Hunter Smit 축소판
Hunter Smit
Published August 25, 2023

While walking to my favorite coffee shop to grab a mobile order recently, I spotted a bright yellow school bus, a reminder that local schools are starting the new academic year. With summer ending, back-to-school shopping is in its fullest swing. It’s clear more people than ever continue to turn to digital channels for their shopping needs. With the increase in spending, cybercriminals are lurking in the shadows, ready to manipulate the surge in online activity, and target unsuspecting customers and exploit retailers. For 2023, Fast Company estimates back-to-school spending will reach $41 billion, an all-time high. With this, the Better Business Bureau is warning consumers of spikes in threats related to the back-to-school season.

Behind the seemingly festive atmosphere of creative marketing is a world of back-to-school scams, threatening the security of not only e-commerce websites, but also endpoints for payment gateways, terminals, and point-of-sale systems accessible over the internet. To confront these insidious threats head-on and protect your customers, robust web application and API protection (WAAP) is imperative. From protecting checkout, gift card redemption, in-store payment gateways, or customer service portals, each endpoint is under increased scrutiny from security teams as they attempt to stay several steps ahead of the attackers.

The Perils of Back-to-School Threats

Cybercriminals seize opportunities to unleash a barrage of scams targeting unsuspecting customers. Among the most insidious are bot attacks, exploiting API and client-side vulnerabilities, and authentication breaches which lead to account takeover and fraud. These threats underscore the urgency for online retailers to fortify their defenses by protecting their web applications and APIs. Protecting against threats assists retailers in sustaining brand reputation and reducing compliance risk while safeguarding families.

Account Takeover: Cybercriminals exploit the flurry of activity to hijack user accounts, compromising sensitive data and wreaking havoc. An effective defense strategy is crucial to thwart unauthorized access and safeguard customer credentials.

Bot Attacks: Malicious bots infiltrate e-commerce sites, launching fraudulent activities like data scraping and transaction fraud. The influx of online traffic during back-to-school season amplifies this risk, emphasizing the need for robust bot defense and mitigation measures.

API Vulnerabilities: Cybercriminals target vulnerabilities in APIs to manipulate transactions, abuse business logic, and access confidential data. Discovering and protecting all API endpoints becomes paramount in ensuring secure and seamless e-commerce operations.

Client-Side Exploits: Back-to-school shoppers can be vulnerable to client-side attacks like Magecart and formjacking, where cybercriminals compromise payment forms and steal sensitive information. Strengthening client-side defense mechanisms is essential to prevent such breaches.

Authentication Breaches: Scammers exploit lax authentication processes to gain unauthorized entry into user accounts. Simply adding multi-factor authentication (MFA) to user accounts is no longer adequate; a solution must take into account MFA bombing, biometric spoofing, and SIM swapping. Strengthening authentication intelligence using machine learning and artificial intelligence is crucial to prevent identity theft and protect user privacy.

Empowering a Shield of Customer Protection

One of the biggest threats to retailers and their customers is account takeover, either for checking out, returns, or for managing loyalty programs. The results of account takeover can be horrendous for an organization with outcomes like compliance violations, financial loss, data leakage, and customer churn. F5 Distributed Cloud Authentication Intelligence streamlines logins and recognizes returning users quickly, while keeping authentication breaches in check. F5 Distributed Cloud Bot Defense detects and neutralizes malicious bots, protecting your site from data breaches and fraud. The solution also strengthens API security, allowing for safe transactions and preventing unauthorized access and data breaches. And with Client-Side Defense, F5 safeguards customers against client-side attacks, ensuring payment information and sensitive data remain secure while preparing for the upcoming PCI DSS v4.0 requirements.

While nearly half of consumers shop on an e-commerce site, most people are utilizing a brand’s mobile application. Retailers must also focus on protecting their mobile apps from data breaches, bad bots, and mobile app abuse. With F5 Distributed Cloud WAAP, you can rest easy, knowing your e-commerce site and mobile app are protected against a range of threats, from malicious bots and client-side attacks which lead to account takeover.

Ready to Protect

Retailers must unmask and neutralize threats endangering their customers’ safety and financial security. Back-to-school scams, like phishing or fraudulent bot-driven transactions, require aggressive approaches to safeguard the digital world. By utilizing a formidable shield, e-commerce sites can be armed with the power to confront these hidden perils head-on. Organizations can benefit from “click to enable, run anywhere” policies for uniform, global protection and enforcement. Empowered by advanced threat detection, fortified bot defense, and centralized security management, F5 enables retailers to embrace annual back-to-school seasons with confidence resulting in the safety and trust of their cherished customers. Explore F5 Distributed Cloud Services today by requesting a free enterprise trial.