E-Commerce: Security and Privacy

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As the evolution of the internet and purchasing online becomes popular, so do the security factors that contribute to the ways of eliminating fraud, theft, and acquiring personal information. E-commerce has created many new ways for customers to make payments including e-cash, e-cheques, and e-wallets. In the 21st century, many organizations worked hard at securing communications and payments made through e-commerce transactions. In doing so, customers would be able to feel a sense of trust, confidence and assurance that their information is safe. Many technological developments are being tested and today even implemented through that very system, of e-payments. Already being used today are smart-cards and e-wallets, which in fact work well at creating a safeguard for customers information. Customers now have the convenience of quick and more efficient ways of making transactions and saving data effortlessly with the click of a button. Authentication programs such as VeriSign Secure Site Program, allows one to learn more about web sites users visited before they submit any confidential information, in addition to permitting one to submit sensitive information like one's own credit card number. Such programs are being used on sites such as Ryerson's website, where students can make payments through the system where credit card information is used. Public key infrastructure and digital certificates help companies battle the wave of illegal activity and enhance the business models. Today many businesses are using firewalls as a way to add security to a network. Virtual Private Network allows users to gain secure access to its organizations network. Companies that have used these technologies are paving the way for future security methods. Encryption and decryption are always used whenever secure sites are accessed so that users that enter information can not be accessed by unauthorized people. 56 bit used before and the 128-bit encryption is becoming the standard at the moment. Many companies who conduct business electronically have the responsibility of making sure that when payments are made over the Internet, accuracy and security become extremely critical. The main concern with electronic payment is the level of security during each step of the transaction. For if there is the slightest possibility the payment system is not secure, trust and confidence in the system by online customers will begin to deteriorate. There are currently 4 major categories of electronic payments systems: (1) electronic cash, (2) online credit card payment, (3) electronic checks and (4) small payments. Each one of these payments has their advantages and limitations.

E-cash is a more convenient and flexible way of handling payments than traditional money. It can be used by both, consumers and businesses. Banks that issue E-cash could find it much cheaper than handling checks and the paper records that accompany traditional money. Consumers who do business on the Internet will find some forms of electronic money offer much greater privacy than using ordinary credit cards. Disadvantages associated with e-cash are that uncontrolled growth of E-cash systems could undermine bank and government-controlled money systems. E-cash may be less secure than bank money, since money stored on a PC could be lost forever if the system crashes. E-cash could foster a have and have-not society: Those with PCs would have ready access to the stuff, while those without, many of them low-income consumers, would not. The worse part of it all is that if hackers or other criminals were to break into e-cash systems, they could instantaneously extract the electronic wealth of thousands or even millions of innocent consumers.

Although online credit card payments require a high usage fee and they have a limit on how much one can spend, it is popular because of its acceptability in many foreign countries and also because it is a relatively safe method of...
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