Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Application Security

9/12/2017
04:30 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Shopify Risk Director Talks Ecommerce, Bug Bounty Program

Andrew Dunbar shares his experience growing a retail-focused security team, and combating the many threats facing online merchants and their customers.

As the retail space becomes more technology-dependent, security has grown as a selling point for online merchants and customers. It's a priority at Shopify, which protected sales from more than 130 million purchases in their half-million merchant base this past year. To date, it has protected over $40B in sales.

"It's a priority at Shopify, which protected sales from more than 130 million purchases in their half million merchant base this past year. To date, Shopify has protected over $40 billion in sales on their platform."

Andrew Dunbar was the only security employee at Shopify when he joined as a security operations engineer in May 2012. Now its director of risk and compliance, he discusses the process of growing a security team and threats shaping security for ecommerce companies.

Dark Reading: Let's start with security concerns among major retail and ecommerce companies. How has the landscape changed?

Andrew Dunbar: More people are moving to a multichannel ecommerce landscape. Security vulnerabilities exist in the platforms they use and websites they run on. People share credit card information and personal information with ecommerce companies, and there are lots of targeted attacks where credentials have been exposed through breaches to other platforms.

Online retailers have to protect the security of accounts customers use for service providers in banking, email, and ecommerce. Trust with customers is always the most important thing for protecting their brand and ensuring great relationships with their customers.

DR: What are some of the ways you build that level of trust with Shopify's merchants and their customers?

AD: When Shopify makes security decisions, they are deployed to all 500,000 stores on its platform. One of the things we've deployed recently is Apple Pay, which is something available to all merchants. It mitigates the risk of credit card data being obtained because there's no data flowing -- it's not potentially intercepted by malware or another security vulnerability.

Shopify also integrates social media where people shop. Rather than paying the merchant directly, customers can use the Facebook button to buy without entering credit card data. They don't need to worry about sharing their card info with someone they've never interacted with, because on social it's secured on the back end. Minimizing the times people need to type their credit card information results in fewer compromises of that data.

DR: You've played a major role in creating Shopify's infosec team and driving security initiatives. What was your goal when you joined the company?

AD: I was actually the first person to do security - when I joined, I was a team of one. People recognized the importance of security but didn't have a dedicated focus on it. I quickly realized when trying to build the team that the biggest way to have effective security was to have security embedded in the company. At the time, Shopify only had a few thousand merchants on the platform, and we knew the amount of trust they were placing in us.

DR: One of the major projects you drove was Shopify's bug bounty program. Can you talk about how that has grown?

AD: The bug bounty program started when I arrived. We had a page on the site that gave people instructions on submitting a report, and we got a few. The first swag we gave out was to a local in Ottawa; we invited them to come have lunch at our office.

After running with that page for a while, we decided to create a more structured program. Shopify already has a developer community where people can create and test online stores. It expanded this program to add a new type of "white hat" partner, who could create stores with the same infrastructure as merchants. This provided a means for bug hunters to test vulnerabilities without affecting any of Shopify's users.

In 2015 we wanted to increase visibility, so we partnered with HackerOne, which blew up interest in our program. It increased responses, and we saw more high-quality reports.

DR: Did you notice any other benefits to the program?

AD: One of the things we can do is use bug bounty programs as a public voice to demonstrate cultural values we hold and how seriously we take security. About one-third of our application security team has submitted vulnerabilities to us, though not all via HackerOne. Any part of hiring is establishing a brand and saying this is the kind of place where people who want to solve security problems would want to work.

DR: What would be your advice to a business interested in launching a bug bounty program?

AD: Start with a private program and fewer researchers so you get a sense of the types of reports you'll receive. We ran our program for about a year so we knew which reports were valid. If you go public, be ready to handle a massive surge in reports.

Scope is incredibly important. Make sure you know what properties are going to be in scope; which vulnerabilities you'll accept. Be aware of design decisions that could be perceived as security risks. Having credibility with researchers and being consistent with payouts both need to be priority.

Related Content:

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two days of practical cyber defense discussions. Learn from the industry’s most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the INsecurity agenda here.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 5/28/2020
The Problem with Artificial Intelligence in Security
Dr. Leila Powell, Lead Security Data Scientist, Panaseer,  5/26/2020
GDPR Enforcement Loosens Amid Pandemic
Seth Rosenblatt, Contributing Writer,  5/27/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-5572
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
Android App 'Mailwise for Android' 1.0.0 to 1.0.1 allows an attacker to obtain credential information registered in the product via unspecified vectors.
CVE-2020-5573
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
Android App 'kintone mobile for Android' 1.0.0 to 2.5 allows an attacker to obtain credential information registered in the product via unspecified vectors.
CVE-2020-13693
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
An unauthenticated privilege-escalation issue exists in the bbPress plugin before 2.6.5 for WordPress when New User Registration is enabled.
CVE-2020-13173
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-28
Initialization of the pcoip_credential_provider in Teradici PCoIP Standard Agent for Windows and PCoIP Graphics Agent for Windows versions 19.11.1 and earlier creates an insecure named pipe, which allows an attacker to intercept sensitive information or possibly elevate privileges via pre-installing...
CVE-2019-6342
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-28
An access bypass vulnerability exists when the experimental Workspaces module in Drupal 8 core is enabled. This can be mitigated by disabling the Workspaces module. It does not affect any release other than Drupal 8.7.4.