The CEO of Leeds-based cybersecurity and website performance specialists RapidSpike has issued a warning to eCommerce firms ahead of a Black Friday boom.

Based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, RapidSpike was founded in 2015 by Andrew Mason and Robin Hill.

The business is now led by CEO Gav Winter, the founder of IT consultancy The Test People who joined RapidSpike in 2018 to drive the company’s growth.

Winter said of the shopping event: “Black Friday and Cyber Monday may seem like just a few days and it’s over, but how a retailer protects and treats their customers during this time, can affect their reputation for many years to come.

“The last thing any business needs this year is to suffer a security breach and to have to inform customers of the breach and potentially lose those customers forever. Trust is very difficult to be regained in such a competitive time for online retail.”

The firm believes that businesses in the fashion, tech, homeware and cosmetics industries are most at risk. It said attacks could come in the form of ransomware, phishing, a DDOS attack or MAGECART, a cybercrime syndicate which specialises in cyberattacks involving digital credit card theft.

“If shoppers have been putting off buying big ticket items earlier in the year with all that’s happened, they are highly likely to be out seeking those bargains this Black Friday,” continues Winter.

“We expect to see a surge in demand for ecommerce, particularly off the back of bigger discounts from retailers to entice spending, and those who don’t want to hit the high street.

“The best approach to ecommerce security is a layered approach using multiple tools. Online businesses need to have security measures in place to both prevent and detect attacks. And if you did this last year, don’t get comfortable, as attackers are always coming up with new ways to disguise their techniques, so make sure you are analysing your site for vulnerabilities as well as attacks in progress.”

“The best way to prepare for this is by conducting stress testing to help you understand what is your website’s normal. The data you’ll gather from pushing your hosting to its limits will show you which aspects of your site are likely to fail. In addition to this, scaling up your infrastructure is vital to meet the increase in traffic. This could be adding more machines, or for cloud-based solutions, using auto-scaling and load balancing.”