Magento Store Vulnerability Assessment: Routine Security Check Guide

Most e-commerce store owners and small e-commerce businesses are so focused on acquiring customers, growing revenue, and the other nuts and bolts of their business that they skip over their routine website and other security checks. 

Business owners may feel that because their store is functioning smoothly, their site is safe, but hacking and cyber theft has gotten far more sophisticated in the recent past. 

Hackers can place malware around key functions and a site owner may not realize it until they have been locked out of their website, or their customers reach out to complain. 

When it comes to security, the often repeated proverb is that it is ‘better to be safe than sorry’. 

The cost and time of dealing with a cyber attack can be protracted and expensive. The fines can be large, the drain of time can be exhausting, and the whole exercise can virtually take a small business under.

Adobe is deeply invested in the security of its e-commerce platform and often releases Magento security patches. Unfortunately, it has been found that most businesses fail to deploy these updates as required. 

Maintaining the security of the primary revenue channel of your business requires a commitment, focus, and prevention-based mentality.

Often, a business may not have adequate internal skills to maintain the security of its digital assets, in such cases, it is best to partner with an external agency hired for this purpose.    

Do you have a Magento Vulnerability Assessments protocol? Is your organization’s website security always updated? Will it be able to withstand a cyber-attack? This article will help you decide.

How Cybercrime Can Affect An Online Store 

To begin with, let’s take a look at how a cyber attack can affect your online store and business. 

Hackers are constantly on the prowl for vulnerabilities to exploit for monetary gains. As a small or medium business owner, you can decide not to fall victim and take preventive action to protect your digital landscape. But before that, you need to know the different types of hack attacks and how these can affect your online store. 

  • Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attack — hackers overwhelm a website with thousands of requests causing the website to crash and become unavailable to customers. 
  • Broken authentication or session management attack — hackers exploit weaknesses in the authentication process and use cookies or session IDs to gain access to the website.
  • Remote Command Execution — Hackers utilize this technique when an input validation provides them with privileges of the web server while executing OS commands.
  • XSS or cross-site scripting attack — hackers inject malicious codes into the website. An XSS attack enables hackers to steal cookies, hijack sessions, and steal customer information. 
  • Server attack through code execution— attackers create executable files with common extensions like .csv, which are then executed on a Magento server or other applications. 
  • SQL injection — attackers insert a harmful SQL code on the website and access or alter the database. This can prevent the admin from accessing files and folders on the website. 
  • CSRF attack — hackers trick users into executing harmful codes that make the website vulnerable. Attackers usually do this through cookies and ‘post and get’ statements. 
  • Brute force attack — hackers use automated programs that engage in trial and error to guess the login credentials of an account. 
  • Credit card hijack —hackers install malware and secretly record all the credit cards used on the website. Hackers change the payment details and lead payments to their servers. 
  • Website defacement — hackers access the website and leave a message on the homepage. They could also delete files or vandalize other pages on the website.
  • Botneting — hackers take control of the e-commerce website and send out large numbers of emails on behalf of the company. This seriously impacts the brand image.

The various ways hackers can gain illegal access to your website are only growing, having a Magento Vulnerability Assessments protocol is a crucial preventive tactic.

While the attack can be of various types, here is how an attack can impact your online business

  • The first impact of a hack attack is that the business loses access to its website. A website is a key tool for generating revenue, acquiring customers, maintaining brand image, and more. Losing control over the website is equivalent to losing partial control of the business.
  • Hackers steal data for monetary gains. They know that your website is your most crucial revenue channel and you have invested significant time and revenue to build and nurture it. In the event of an attack, hackers could ask you to pay a ransom to recover access to your website, data, and critical customer information. Businesses have paid millions to recover the data that has been stolen by hackers.
  • If your business has been a victim of an SQL attack, botneting, website defacement or credit card jacking you could have lost significant brand equity and it will take years to regain lost customer trust.
  • Some companies also use the server as a storage device and the result of hacking can be the loss of critical intellectual property such as product designs, technologies, and go-to-market strategies. 

What is Magento Security?

If your e-commerce store is on the Magento platform you might have a tad bit less to worry about when it comes to online security. 

Magento is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms used worldwide. Because of its usage by millions of e-commerce businesses, Adobe has built in a host of security features that prevent hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities and causing data leaks, information thefts, unlawful transactions, and other malware attacks. 

To deploy Magento security ensure your site has deployed the latest security patches, has a robust firewall, 2-factor authentication, captcha, and uses trusted themes, extensions, and hosting. Adobe also offers users the Magento security scan tool to review and assess the vulnerability of their website.

Though Adobe released Magento 2 over two years ago and has stopped support to Magento 1, thousands of e-commerce businesses across the world continue to use Magento 1. This is of course risky and here’s why.

You can also read this blog post, “Magento Security Scanner to Find Vulnerabilities & Malware” >>

Why is Magento 1 Vulnerable?

Support to Magento 1 ended in June 2020. Since then, Adobe has not been releasing security patches leaving websites built on this platform vulnerable. Hackers are also aware that Magento 1 e-commerce sites are an easy target due to poor security.  

A case in point was the Magecart attack where hackers gained access to e-commerce sites through third-party applications. 

In a web skimming attack, hackers were able to insert snippets of JavaScript into ads and this script was brought to the dynamic payment processing environment of a checkout page. 

This script could copy data from form fields on the checkout webpage and send the information to hackers.

Here’s Your Risk Score if you are a Magento 1 user

Magento Version Risk Score
1.7.x 100/100 (very high)
1.8.x 100/100 (very high) – 95/100 (very high) – 92/100 (very high) – 85/100 (high) – 75/100 (medium-high) 65/100 (moderate)

Migrating to Magento 2 may require months of planning and investment but refusing to migrate can be risky and very expensive too. Here’s why 

  • Magento 1 receives no security patch updates. Knowing this, hackers find it increasingly easy to target websites hosted on Magento 1. 
  • Payment gateways are advising stores on Magento 1 to transition out as the platform is not PCI DSS compliant, and there have been several hack attacks like the Magecart. Several payment gateways refuse to extend their services to Magento 1 stores.
  • With support to Magento 1 officially ending, several extensions have become non-functional or obsolete. 
  • It is increasingly difficult to find developers and technology partners to support Magento 1, their services may also come at a premium.

How To Do A Magento Security Audit?

So while the possibilities of a hack attack remain constant and concerns run high, here is a way to do a security audit and verify the vulnerability of your website.

  • Harness the free  Magento Security Scan Tool to identify potential vulnerabilities such as missing security patches or configuration issues. The tool offers a security status report for the website and also suggests remediation actions.
  • Stress test your website with penetrative testing by simulating an intruder attack.  The servers, network, and other potential points of exposure are tested to identify security gaps and determine how the infrastructure will respond in the event of a real attack. 
  • Review the code of third-party Magento extensions – Magento offers extensive customization and integrates with thousands of applications, themes, and custom codes. While the benefits of these third-party applications are many, they are also the weakest point of your website. If extensions are not managed carefully, they can offer backdoor entry to hackers. Research thoroughly before deploying an extension. Ensure you use only the latest version of an extension. Check if the extension causes any significant changes to your website. 
  • Audit the navigation of your website – get several people to review the navigation and note their inputs. Another way is to request people to do simple tasks on the website and note the time taken to complete them. Use this information to identify ways to strengthen security even while making navigation simpler. 
  • Review mobile user experience — with mobile becoming the most common device to browse and shop online, e-commerce businesses need to check to ensure the website has an optimal load time and monitor the data a mobile consumes. Get security experts to review the mobile user experience and implement recommendations.
  • Audit the website for business logic errors — Business logic is applied when planning the website, how the logic will generate, handle, and store data, and how it will execute certain processes. If this logic is not well conceptualized it can create opportunities for vulnerabilities. A security expert should be able to review and advise on this.
  • Also review Magento roles and privileges and ensure access is on a need-to-know bases and designation dependent.
  • Review and ensure server configuration analysis including firewall rules and server configuration files are accurate.
  • Do a PCI compliance audit to ensure all your processes are secure and do not store any personally identifiable information (PII) of your customers. 
  • Monitor the codebase and files of your website — put in place a cadence to monitor the codebase and files on your website, make a note if you see new files, and take action if you see files have been modified or tampered with.
  • Adopt every Magento 2 specific security configuration — Adobe is deeply committed to security and acts fast when it detects a vulnerability. The Magento platform offers multiple security options from 2-factor authentication to Captcha and the Magento security scan tool.
  • Adopt a Magento Vulnerability Assessments protocol —  a series of best practices to engage in before and after an attack. This vulnerability assessment protocol can be both preventive and reactive.

While doing a regular security audit enables you to stay vigilant, the best way forward is to Migrate from Magento 1 to Magento 2. As an e-commerce platform, Magento 1 may have been great for its time, but now, Adobe has ended its support of Magento 1. 

This means no more Magento security patches and updates, quality fixes, or documentation updates. So if your website is built on Magento 1 that is your biggest vulnerability for now and hackers know it. 

The second option is to control user access. An organization must carefully monitor who is given access to which section of the website and why. 

Put in place a protocol to update passwords frequently, immediately remove access if a person no longer requires it, and track the safety of the devices from which the website is accessed. 

Phishing emails are the most common way hackers get people from an organization to part with their credentials. The best way to reduce vulnerabilities is to limit backend access. 

How Magento 2 is More Secure and Protects Your Online Store

One of the key reasons Adobe phased out Magento 1 is to make the next version more secure. 

As the adoption of Magento e-commerce platform increases, hardcoding security and preventing future events like the Magecart were crucial. 

Magento 2 has several benefits by way of a larger number of features and integrations with third-party applications, but another key aspect is its several security features.

  • Magento security scan tool is an exclusive and free tool available to all Magento site owners, be they, merchants or developers, to monitor their sites for security risks. It can proactively and efficiently detect malware on merchant stores and notify merchants if there are any security risks, malware, or threats.
  • Better password management standards – the most common way hackers gain access to a company’s website is when they gain access to crucial passwords via a phishing or cyber attack. Magento has put in place password management standards such as SHA-256 hashing algorithms within its system. 
  • Adaptable file permissions — user-based access to specific designations and users adds another layer of security. By default, Magento 2 recommends file system permissions that users can adopt.
  • Regular updates — Adobe releases an array of Magento security patches that users are expected to download and deploy to enhance the security of their site. Each update is geared towards the latest security.

Checklist for Magento Vulnerability Assessment

  • Use HTTPS — it is used as a ranking factor by Google, and enhances the safety of your e-commerce site. Older website can also configure their website to adopt the securely encrypted HTTPS option. 
  • Export and backup configuration — so that you have a backup that can be redeployed in an emergency. A key reason to export the configuration to the file system is that the configuration takes precedence over the database configuration. 
  • Create a backup of the web root including media, and admin action log archives
  • Remove data skimmer code — from the Absolute Header or Absolute Footer of the site.
  • Scan the site using publicly available tools to identify any missing security patches and determine if the site has been infected with known malware strains. 
  • Install the latest version of extensions from the Adobe® Commerce Marketplace and test them in a non-production environment.

While there are several security activities your in-house team can be trained to do, security may not be their skill set, nor would a small e-commerce organization afford to hire full-time security personnel. 

The best option, in this case, is to work with a technology partner who makes it their business to ensure your website security is always updated, review security with a predetermined frequency and alert you on certain dangers.  

Reach out to Navabrind IT Solutions to manage the security of your Magento store

Navabrind IT Solutions is a full-stack e-commerce technology provider with over a decade of experience in the industry. We manage website security for several clients, and our global clientele is based all the way from North America, and Europe, to Asia. Our 100+ software engineers have strong technical skills, think strategically, and work thoughtfully instead of just following specifications.

Several of our clients say they partner with us for our ability to work independently. Many have gotten used to our responsive, proactive, high-quality work, quick turnaround time, and on-time deliveries. This has led them to make us their partner of choice for any e-commerce implementation, customization, and maintenance assignments. Our customers say that our work most often exceeds their expectations.

 You can partner with us for project-based services, sign up for a retainer, or engage with us on technology-specific assignments. Some clients also partner with us on duration-specific projects such as quarterly, half-yearly, or yearly. Irrespective of what you sign up for, we are deeply committed to maximizing your investment and ensuring your website is always secure.

 Reach us to learn more about our expertise in Magento vulnerability assessments or to begin a conversation about your needs.



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