6 tips to help protect your business from online fraud

Monday, January 15, 2024 4 minute read

4 minute read

Financial institutions, governing bodies and businesses are taking collective action to inform and protect both businesses and consumers from online fraud. Regardless, hackers and fraudsters continue to develop new tactics to exploit internet users and vulnerable systems.

Businesses must be vigilant and take a proactive approach to online fraud prevention, which is far less costly than seeking a reactive cybercrime cure. Getting online security basics right can help protect a business’s online platforms, systems, customers and reputation.

We highlight six important steps you can take to help protect your business from online criminals.

1. Use strong passwords and update them regularly

One of the most effective ways to protect against internet fraud is to use strong and unique passwords for all online accounts. This helps reduce the risk of unauthorized access.

  • Passwords should be regularly updated and impossible to guess. Use passwords that are 12-15 characters long with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters, like punctuation.
  • Avoid using previously used passwords or the same password for different accounts and platforms. Some business use a password manager to support password procedures.

What is a password manager?

A password manager attempts to improve password usability and security, with users creating unique, complex passwords for every online account without needing to remember them. All information is securely stored in a password vault and accessible via the password manager.

2. Work with trusted third parties

Select reputable, trusted third parties to support your online systems and eCommerce shop to gain peace of mind and best practice operating processes. Make sure the following points are included in your contract to help ensure your business’s online security.

  • Use the latest version of all software and security patches that meet the latest security standards.
  • Ensure your web host provider monitors any attempts or unauthorised changes of your Home Page content and will react immediately if something is detected.
  • Use multifactor verification and authentication for remote access by any connected third party.

Implementing multi-factor authentication

Multifactor authentication (MFA) is a multi-step login process that requires additional information from the user to access an account. Along with a password, this could include entering a code sent to their email or phone, answering a secret question, or using biometrics (i.e. scanning a fingerprint).

3. Regulate access: Divided and unconquered

The risk of fraud from an individual with too much or unnecessary access to your business’s confidential information and systems weakens your online security. It increases the opportunity that, by accident or design, confidential information or access to your system could be shared with malicious parties.

Regulate access depending on staff or third-party vendors’ role to minimise the risk of fraud by any individual to lessen the potential for that person to become a target for fraudsters.

By doing this, should an employee, contractor or third-party vendor become compromised, the impact will be more limited, as they will not have access to all of your systems. Monitoring and reviewing access to sensitive payment data and critical IT systems through logs and audit trails also enhances traceability.

4. Install anti-fraud software

Malware and ransomware (where hackers demand a fee) can bring your business to a halt by preventing access to computer files, systems and networks. They can also result in the loss, theft or compromise of customer payment and business data.

  • Run the latest anti-virus and anti-malware software to help prevent vulnerability of attack.
  • Ensure you or your web-hosting provider has implemented a web application firewall (WAF) or additional intrusion-detection technologies.
  • Encrypt the data transferred between your computer and a website’s server using TLS Certificates.

TLS in a nutshell

Transport Layer Security (TLS) encrypts data sent online to ensure hackers are unable to decipher it. This is particularly important in protecting private and sensitive information such as passwords.

5. Keep software and security patches updated

Don’t delay updating your systems with the latest software and security patches when they become available. Criminals rely on complacency and delays, so make it a priority to stay up-to-date.

Software and security patches will help protect you from online attackers who try to take advantage of system vulnerabilities. If you are responsible for updating security patches and not a third-party vendor, it’s recommended that you apply updates from trusted network locations (e.g., home, work) and only install links from trusted sites.

6. Review links to spot potential false links

Fraudsters can steal your revenue by creating fake payment pages and diverting your customers using false links. Review any links from your website to the payment gateway regularly to confirm the links have not been altered without your knowledge and that your platform has not been compromised.

Avoid the damage of online fraud

Unauthorized access to your online systems can lead to business disruption, financial losses and reputational damage. This could also include the withdrawal of your payment facility by the card schemes and fines of up to €20 for each compromised cardholder account.

Start taking proactive steps today to ensure better online security for your business.

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Whether you do business online or in store, we’ve the right payment product and expertise to support your business. Fill in the form below or give us a call for a free quote.

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