A massive 86% of e-commerce sites using the Magento platform are missing critical security patches, according a survey by security consultancy Foregenix, which also identified a growing global trend for brute force attacks in the first half of the year.

The study, focused on SME company websites across the globe, also revealed 2% of the websites analysed are compromised and currently being harvested for their customers’ data.

Foregenix has an active threat intelligence team researching and analysing attack trends, with a strong focus on the e-commerce sector.

Benjamin Hosack, co-founder and chief commercial officer of Foregenix, says: ‘The rise in cybercrime threatens to undermine confidence in e-commerce, especially in markets leading the way in online sales such as the US and UK. While heavy penalties by card providers put many smaller traders at risk.

“‘Magento and other e-commerce platforms release regular software updates in response to vulnerabilities. These security patches, if not used, can leave websites highly vulnerable to hacking.

“Online businesses often assume web developers and agencies take care of security. Design agencies are great at producing beautiful transactional websites that sell, but their expertise on security issues generally isn’t as well developed,” he says. “Agencies and their clients need to be aware of e-commerce security issues, as even a single breach can be devastating for a small business.

“Simple precautions can make a real difference to reducing a company’s risk from criminals such as changing default settings on the administration interface and using stronger passwords. Risk can never be entirely eliminated, so companies should also consider investing in a cyber insurance policy.”