How to prevent formjacking?

Cybercrime is everywhere, but it’s not always easy to spot. Some types are disruptive and direct, while others, like formjacking, are more subtle. If you don’t know how to prevent formjacking, cybercriminals could steal private information without anyone noticing.

So what exactly is formjacking and how can you avoid falling victim to it?

What is Formjacking?

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Formjacking is a cyber attack in which hackers insert malicious code into a website, usually a payment form. When you enter your personal information, this code will send a copy to a server so cybercriminals can access and use it.

Stealing financial information from e-commerce sites is the most common example of form hijacking, but it’s not the only one. Sometimes fraudsters steal names and addresses to commit identity theft or break into other accounts. Other times they will simply sell your personal information on the dark web. Some cybercriminals will also do all of the above!

Email marketing has taken off during the COVID-19 pandemic; with an ROI of $44 for every dollar spent and the massive shift to online storefronts, the high level of trust we place in email marketing forms has only compounded the problem. Legit information forms are everywhere online, giving hackers a perfect opportunity to steal valuable data.


How to prevent formjacking

Formjacking is a real danger if you run a website, but you can prevent it. And your visitors can also protect themselves from formjacking. Some of the most effective tools are script blockers like ScriptSafe or JS Blocker. These browser extensions block the execution of scripts, including those that formjackers might use.

Masked credit cards or tokenization through apps like Apple Pay or Google Pay also help by hiding sensitive information. Most anti-virus programs also include measures to block certain formjacking scripts.

Website owners should perform tests before each update. This will help reveal any suspicious code and ensure everything is working as it should. Embedding Sub-Resource Integrity (SRI) into website code will allow browsers to verify that resources are delivered without manipulation, helping to prevent formjacking.

How to detect and respond to formjacking

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No matter how you prevent formjacking, no prevention method is 100% effective. Therefore, you also need to know how to detect and react to elements that slip through the cracks.

Analyze your website code regularly, especially before releasing an update, to check for irregularities. Anything you didn’t write or put here may be malicious, so delete it. Of course, you have to be careful not to accidentally delete anything important; be doubly sure before you get rid of the code.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) won’t prevent formjacking, but it will minimize the damage because it makes it harder to breach other accounts. Admittedly, 2FA is not perfect, but some experts still call it the most effective tool against cyberattacks. Website owners should offer it and visitors should enable it.

You can also detect formjacking by regularly checking your bank accounts, credit score, and other documents. Call your bank to cancel or block your cards if you see unusual activity, then change your passwords. Automated monitoring apps can make it easier for you by checking your recordings for you.

Website owners should contact affected users if they notice any unusual code. It is your responsibility to manage user data, so take this burden seriously and be at the forefront of cyberattacks. Tell them to monitor their accounts and change their passwords. In addition to protecting them, this transparency will help build trust.

Protect your website and data

Even small, non-commercial sites could fall victim to form hijacking. Knowing how to prevent formjacking is an important first step in the fight against cybercrime. Website owners and visitors who understand these threats can take the right steps to stay safe.

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