Skip to Primary Menu Skip to Utility Menu Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer
Noname Security Logo

2023 API Security Trends for Retail and eCommerce

Dan Murphy
Share this article

If the retail industry felt that the initial shift toward eCommerce sent shockwaves through the sector, they may not have been able to comprehend the changing dynamics of consumer behaviors once digital retail expectations were set. We have seen consumer preference move from simply preferring to shop online to a demand for personalized selections and processes. This has caused the retail sector to dive head-first into the world of application programming interfaces (API), relying on such structures to customize advertisements, outreach, and checkout procedures simply to stay afloat in the new marketplace. Social media platforms have also joined the fray, staking their claim to a major presence within the eCommerce sphere.

Reliance on APIs creates the data analytics retail businesses need to identify, court and serve their target customer bases, but mining and exchanging so much sensitive data leaves renders their platforms as both attractive, and vulnerable, to threat actors. This blog post will identify the most prevalent API concerns and method of attacks, the impact of those threats on retail organizations, and emerging solutions that will help businesses thrive in the digital marketplace. You’ll also get access to the latest API security research for retailers, so reading until the end is in your best interest.

Common Security Incidents in the Retail and eCommerce Industry

In 2023, Noname Security conducted research regarding data security within six specific sectors; healthcare, financial services, retail and eCommerce, government and public sector, manufacturing, and energy and utilities. Among these fields, retail and eCommerce experienced the second most API security incidents, highlighting the need for broad and target defense actions from industry leaders.

One Step Forward, One Step Back

Noname’s 2022 research found dormant and zombie APIs as the most exploited vector for security incidents within the industry. Retailers responded by emphatically closing this door to cybercriminals, with reported incidents dropping by 14 percent in 2023. However, threat actors have found new ways of assailing APIs, with web application firewalls and network firewalls shooting up the ranks of most commonly exploited.

A False Sense of Security

While security incidents increased across the two-year sample, surprisingly so did industry confidence in security testing procedures and API visibility. Though testing practices were reported to have improved incrementally, the data reveals that firewalls have still been under heightened siege.

How API Vulnerability Impacts Retail Businesses

Digital industries must satisfy several audiences – chief among them are consumers and regulators. Noname’s research found that API security can either support or debilitate a retailer’s ability to reach these goals that determine the very viability and success of companies within this industry.

Attacks on Revenue and Operations

Half of the survey respondents reported damaged customer relationships and a resulting impact on accounts thanks to successful attacks on their APIs. Cybercriminals have cost retailers huge sums of money through fees incurred to address security breaches, with a correlating impact on organizational productivity. Just imagine the impact when internal networks have fallen to threat actors and capacity is redirected to rebuilding broken processes.

Leveraging APIs to Achieve Regulatory Compliance

Nearly three-quarters of those polled expressed that APIs help them maintain compliance with PCI-DSS, or more formally known as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. Such support proves crucial to a business’ bottom line, as nearly half of respondents reported incurring regulatory fees because of API security incidents.

Internal and External Goodwill

The stakes are particularly high in the retail and eCommerce sector, where so much of a company’s success relies on positive feelings from their consumers. APIs enable businesses to offer customers perks like curbside pickup, delivery through commercial partners, and more. Even retail workers are impacted by the success of APIs, with the industry reporting the highest loss of employee goodwill following security incidents, well above the average among the six sectors polled.

Opportunities to Thrive

Although risks abound, successful use and defense of APIs can lead the retail and eCommerce sector to a prosperous state now and in the future. Despite the success cybercriminals have enjoyed, there is reason to believe the retail and eCommerce sector is ready to meet the moment. Half of those polled labeled API security is a necessary requirement for companies and serves as a business enabler. And over 75% of respondents claim that API security is a higher priority for their business than it was 12 months ago, underscoring leadership’s commitment to stop threat actors before they can chip away customer acquisition and maintenance.


Customer demand for the retail and eCommerce services that APIs facilitate will not go backwards – it will only increase over time. And while industry leaders may not be in as secure a position today as they presume, their commitment to using cutting edge data security tools is evident. From customer and employee satisfaction to protection from revenue loss, the benefits of secure, high-functioning APIs for retail and eCommerce businesses are crystal clear.

Just like APIs themselves, security comes down to partnership and communication with organizations like Noname that have the expertise needed to prevent problems from occurring, leaving customers with the safe, reliable feeling they seek from retailers.

Discover the most common API security challenges and emerging solutions within the retail and eCommerce sector. Check out the full report here.