It has been said that identity theft is the largest white collar crime ever in the United States. As a website owner, you may wonder what you can do to protect your clients. I am here to recommend that you should definitely have vulnerability assessments done on your website. A vulnerability assessment is defined as the process of identifying, quantifying and prioritizing the vulnerabilities in a system. You may have also heard of vulnerability scanning or pci scanning, it is really all basically the same thing. And it is one of the best ways that you, as an online business owner, can protect the information of your customers.
Criminal identity theft occurs when a thieve gives another person’s name and personal information such as a drivers’ license, date of birth, or Social Security number (SSN) to obtain a job, housing, money, goods, or other services. It’s been reported by the Federal Trade Commission that in the last twelve months 9.93 million people have had some type of identity theft crime committed against them. Victims spend on average $1,200 in out-of-pocket expenses and an average of 175 hours in time and effort to resolve the many problems caused by identity thieves. The scary thing is that it takes a victim on average 12 months before they even realize they have been victimized!
So how can vulnerability assessments help? Having vulnerability scanning conducted by an approved scanning vendor yearly or even quarterly can protect your site and help keep you compliant with the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards). Merchants that accept, process or store credit card information on their site, must have the scanning conducted. Once passing the scan they will receive the official certification that they need to submit to their acquiring bank. You can be sure that you will avoid penalties and heavy fines, if you are conducting these scans and staying compliant.
It has been proven that merchants who are pci compliant see online orders increase. Why? Because shoppers are more confident in using their credit cards online when they know that the sites they are shopping on are more protected from the risk of identity theft.
Some areas that are tested during a vulnerability assessment are firewalls, server vulnerabilities, virtual private networking (VPN), email configuration, remote access services, web site analysis, modems, and more.
So if you own an online business, don’t take any risks. Keep your site compliant and safe from identity thieves for the protection of your business and your customers. Start vulnerability assessments now.