We are living in a world that is filled with hackers and criminals. We have to accept the fact that we are living in a dangerous world. The number of online payments that are made every day is increasing in large numbers. People prefer online payments because it is more convenient.
Online payments are accustomed to a lot of data breaches and risks that involve cybersecurity. It is compulsory to take the necessary measures to ensure complete security. It is important to protect both the customer and the enterprise.
Customers would never pay at your website if they get to know that there is a slight security breach on your website, they would never make payments. It would become a trust issue and that would become very hard to repair.
Online payment gateways are the vital part of an e-commerce store, so there are a lot of security measures that have to be taken in order to ensure privacy and safety.
Before we get into the security, you need to know online payment gateways work.
How Online Payment Gateways Work?
Payment gateways are asynchronous. Here is a step by step process on how the process takes place—the user is redirected to the payment gateway, the moment the user selects the option to pay online.
There is a 3D secure page that pops up, and prompts you for password verification. You might wonder wh 3D means.
It is a three-layered security that involves the bank, user, and the merchant. Now what the merchant does is, he attaches something called the MAC (Message Authentication Code) of the transaction, which is to be transmitted to the gateway along with all the details.
Now the MAC algorithm works according to the payment gateway. The payment gateway computes the MAC by its own and then verifies the authenticity of the code. It makes sure if the data is not modified or tampered. After the transaction code and other security details are verified, it redirects back to the merchant where he verifies it. This handshake process should be tamper-proof and free from any type of security breaches, or you know what can happen.
The merchant has a unique and a secret key which is shared with the gateway, and there is a predetermined algorithm that helps in generating a MAC string. Which is in a hidden form and it redirects the merchant to the payment gateway.
Why Do We Need MACs?
MACs are needed because they ensure that the data is safe even if there is any type of threats. These MACS need to be free of any security flaws as possible. If there is a vulnerability, the user or the merchant can modify the amount of transaction, during the handshake process.
Security Measures That Are Needed In Online Payment Gateways
Avoid Using HTTP
The merchants login page should not be in HTTP. Using a web page that is in HTTP can make the page vulnerable to all kinds of security threats. It is possible to redirect the users to a fake login page or change the details of the page, in the middle of the transaction, and submit the data. That is the reason why most all login pages are in HTTPS, which is more secure.
There is a protocol that is known by HSTS. It stands for HTTP Strict Transport Security. For understanding purposes it is a type of a header that directs the browser to HTTPS for that site, whenever it is opened.
Once the user visits the site that is preloaded with HSTS, he can never get access to the site by using HTTP again in the future.
Using Secure Cookies
Just because it is named after something that we eat, it should not be taken lightly. Cookies need to be marked as secure. This helps to make the browser transfer the cookie when the request is in HTTPS.
This prevents the browser from transmitting the data whenever the site is in HTTP. You might wonder why cookies need to be kept secure—if there is an attacker who has access to the merchant’s cookie, then he can take control of sensitive data, reset the keys or make it ugly.
Using Authentication That Is Based On Hash
If the online payment gateway is using a poor MAC generating algorithm, the user can create a request that shows that he or she has paid, an this will tell the merchant also the same. Thus it is necessary to have a secure MAC generation algorithm that is very hard to breach.