Skip to content ↓ | Skip to navigation ↓

Online businesses of all sizes need to be able to accept payments today. This really is the only way in which you can buy and sell products and services without a physical presence. It’s convenient and economical but there are also some risks associated with it because of the information being shared.

Payment gateways are something that you must watch carefully because they’ve been responsible for data loss that’s caused companies to earn a bad reputation, receive fines for lack of compliance, and even file for bankruptcy.

How to Know When Your Business Is at Risk

These risks don’t depend on your company’s size or industry. Modis says it simply depends on how valuable hackers think the information you have is. This is why you need to pay close attention to where your data is stored.

Typically, this happens either in a remote data center or in the cloud instead of storing the information on your own servers today. However, there will still be some information that’s stored on your own web server, as the transaction takes place on your website before it’s transmitted to the remote location. This is especially true when you’re using a proprietary or a customized shopping cart.

Regardless of what type of network security software you’re using, you need to know the path that the data is taking. You also need to make sure that there’s the https:// or “lock” symbol in people’s internet browsers when they reach your website.

Additionally, as a business or an organization that handles card holder data today, you must also comply with PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). This is designed to prevent credit card fraud by providing standards for secure data transmission and storage. It provides a means of intrusion detection, sets standards for who can access this private information, and creates a way in which you can legally collect this information.

Periodic auditing also occurs, so that regulators can make sure that companies and organizations remain PCI-compliant.

Payment Gateway Problems to Watch For

Understanding the importance of threat intelligence during the online payment process is important, but what’s just as important is knowing what problems to watch for. Many of these attacks deal with data while it’s in transit.

While most payment gateways are secured through TLS encryption between the website and the payment processing system (even with other parties such as credit card companies and banks), once the data hits its destination, it’s still at risk. Sure, they can use high-grade encryption within their information security intelligence architecture, but they must still “worry” about security threats that may include:

1. Breaches

Data breaches commonly result from a lack of poor security architecture, a lack of standards, and poor management. TLS encryption is the key to securely transmitting data over networks, especially when doing so over the internet. With this encryption in place, the data can only be read by the intended recipient while appearing scrambled for anyone else who looks at it.

2. Failure to Encrypt

Unfortunately, many companies will only secure sensitive card holder data (e.g. card numbers, verification codes), but they won’t secure non-sensitive data (e.g. names, addresses, phone numbers) because it’s more cost-efficient. This means that an attacker can use the unencrypted information while trying to find a way to gain access to that which has been encrypted.

3. Neglecting 2FA

Whether this is through a method like user and IP-address whitelisting or some other method, it’s vital to have this in place because a secure system is only as strong as its weakest link.

4. DDoS Attacks

These types of campaigns flood a computer with a lot of data. By doing so, the hacker exhausts the computer’s resources so that it starts performing poorly. This can do anything from stopping the computer from responding to requests to damaging its hardware. Such attacks can come from multiple sources at the same time, which is how they’ve managed to take down some of the Internet’s largest services like Microsoft’s Xbox Live, Sony’s Playstation Network and Facebook.

All of the security threats identified above are a really big deal today. Unfortunately, there’s no sign that any of these types of attacks are slowing down, either. Instead, black-hat hackers are on the rise, and their attacks are growing even more sophisticated in nature.

This has left security experts scrambling to stay a step or two ahead of them. They’re doing their best to build secure payment gateways that will automatically detect these hackers’ intrusions, alerting them so that professionals can prevent access to your sensitive information.

There’s hope that this will eventually stop these attacks and mitigate their damage, too.


About the Author: Known for his boundless energy and enthusiasm. Evan works as a Freelance Networking Analyst, an avid blog writer, particularly around technology, cybersecurity and forthcoming threats which can compromise sensitive data. With a vast experience of ethical hacking, Evan’s been able to express his views articulately.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.