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3 Warning Signs of Client-Side Malware and How to Tackle Them

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Have you ever seen a business-intelligence number that you just could not explain? Or no matter how hard you looked for an explanation, there just wasn’t one? As a marketing and e-Commerce professional, this has likely happened to you since so many of the metrics in the e-Commerce world just don’t make sense.

Until you realize that you simply do not have visibility on all the things that are happening to your users.

Let me give you some insight on things that will make you say “huh! Now that explains it!”

Client-side malware manipulates your customer’s computers. When an infected computer interacts with your server an attack on your website is initiated but when a customer does not access your e-commerce site, your webpage remains unharmed. The malware is on the client-side only.

This kind of malware is an issue for all kinds of engagement and interaction with the UX and it has the potential to affect your revenue significantly. For this reason, it is paramount to identify malware or at least test to see if it’s on your users’ computers in order to protect your revenues.

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First, let me be clear.  You won’t be able to see direct losses in revenue, conversion and traffic – unless you know where to look and how to look. Once tested and verified – and more important – blocked – you will start to see growth and uplift in many types of KPIs including engagement, revenue and conversion – all stemming from protection against client-side malware.

The unseen “thief”:

1. Missing Revenue

The hallmark of an infected user-base is a realization that your expectations for revenue and traffic do not align. That is, you have increased your traffic, but the revenue has not followed suit. Malware is known to cause losses for any e-commerce site. It works by disguising itself in the form of pop-up ads, advertisements, offers, widgets, or spyware. The ability of malware to camouflage misleads your customers who then exit your site without realizing it through malicious extensions.

Unscrupulous dealers exploit this window to drain your revenue by causing your customers to make purchases from your competitor’s website. Therefore, in case you ever notice a mismatch in your revenue expectations from your online store, you need to check whether your platform has been infected with client-side malware.

2. Drop in Engagement, Click Through Rate, Time Spent on Site, Higher Bounce Rate

Malware acts to distort your website, users. Therefore, when customers visit your site, they have a different view from what you intended. Malware brings about links that deform your site significantly. This kind of deformity works to distract your customers particularly those who are less tech-savvy. Eventually, they get redirected to other sites which in turn reduces your web traffic and engagement. Malware causes your site’s traffic to drop and create all sorts of anomalies in user engagement.

3. CS questions that just don’t make sense

Has your CS support team ever fielded a question that just didn’t make sense?  Something like “I can’t believe that your site would allow popups of Russian Brides!” or “why does your site have advertisements for your competitors?”  Your CS team might answer that you don’t have any ads and it must be some misunderstanding … but the culprit might also be client-side ad injections.

Conclusion

These three issues mark the presence of client-side malware which means that in order to eliminate these, you must employ a product to detect and block them.

Dealing with malware ensures that traffic and revenue are not lost.

So, the next time you feel like increasing your business KPIs and explaining head-scratching shortcomings, be on the lookout for these issues!

There are some professionals who worry that this solution could slow down webpages for everyone (very undesirable!). Unfortunately, this largely stems from some of our competitors who simply didn’t do a good job with their tech architecture and gave a very bad name to this from happening… and it works just like magic. With the simplest of installations (takes about 5 minutes to include our JavaScript snippet), every website can be protected from this phenomenon.

And, it amazes me that there are still websites out there – eCommerce, Content, Brands, etc. – that are not using something like this to stop the Hackers.

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