security crisis that is plaguing e-commerce as it transforms into the epitome of global business. It attempts to analyze the possible repercussions of this problem and then put forward various possible solutions to rectify the biggest obstacle limiting the path of e-commerce progress. The ideas and references used in this proposal have been cited from five different sources.
E-commerce has changed the way the world do business, plain and simple. It has single-handedly brought more people, countries, enterprises and governments together to the same world market than all other forms of conducting methods, combined. This name, given to the electronic method of executing business, has made the task of buying every available merchandise exponentially easier and has therefore made all the more products accessible to the general population as well as businesses and industries. The boom in online trade is gaining alacrity and is destined to become the method of choice for all those who make transactions and engage in commerce. There is, however, one major problem that is hampering the success of e-commerce, and that is the risk of security that online websites face everyday. This threat to the privacy of online shoppers is limiting the outspread and global adoption of online trade. To prevent the e-commerce process from getting stunted in its infancy, effective methods have to be devised to overcome this major hurdle in the path of international technological and commercial progress.
This research study will attempt to discuss the ongoing threat to the burgeoning e-commerce industry including the far-reaching implications that the danger to security and online privacy can cause. It will address some of the fundamental flaws in the way e-commerce is being conducted at present and will offer solutions to eliminate such glitches from future online e-commerce transactions. The explanation of the solutions in this paper will be done with the help of accompanying real world scenarios and practical examples that vividly explain how and why this threat has to be curbed. All in all, a profound and solid resolution will be offered to quicken the advancement of the e-commerce business portals worldwide without any fear of security breaches and this will be done so by focusing and extracting the key limitations and weak points of the current state of e-commerce.
In the technologically advancing world of today, we are constantly hearing catch phrase like “Better, Faster, Cheaper,” “Global Village,” and “Wired Planet.” These phrases have been coined to show that the world is now moving forward in a medium where there are no borders and no governments. It has allowed people around the world to easily access a wealth of information in seconds that they previously had to wait months and even years to receive. The integration of the world’s online community has also resulted in the formation of what is now the biggest bazaar in the world, the electronic marketplace. E-commerce, the process behind this online market is key to the future progression of the world because it is now how a majority of the world conducts business. To facilitate the growth of this relatively new technological trend, the procedure has to be fully secured so that the participants in this massive daily trade can be assured of their anonymity and can shop online without apprehension. For this to take place, we have to be critical in exploring the simple holes and flaws that result in most of the security breaches and complications during online trade (Cases on Worldwide E-Commerce, 2002).
A majority of the problems stemming from low security on business websites include identity theft, invasion of privacy, increased hacking attempts, access to sensitive company information and disruption of business. These hitches result in the overall trust of the public in e-commerce to weaken, which in turn has an adverse effect of this particular methodology as a whole. Customers who are new to the whole concept fear that by using their credit cards online or purchasing particular medicines or products electronically, they could cause important and private information about them to be disclosed if the website is hacked or the security of the databases that store their personal information breached (Hills, 2003).
The key to solving these problems is to fully examine all aspects of the Internet and the factors being utilized to carry out the process. This means the meticulous analysis of computers, Internet security protocols, encryption, password authentication, active content programs running on the servers, and the shortcomings of firewalls used to safeguard websites. All these components are employed while completing an online transaction and a single flaw can jeopardize the effectiveness of the entire process of this mechanism. This is possible, because security systems are only as strong as their weakest point and all facets of the e-commerce process have to be equally secured to guarantee its efficiency (Ghosh, 1998).
Many a time the reason for the misuse of e-commerce online is due to the customers themselves. The customer, who is weary about using their credit card online or supplying any personal information for chances of it getting stolen may be the biggest catalyst in this process without even realizing it. This means that a website might be optimally protected against unauthorized intrusion but the actual source of the data leak may result from the mistake of a customer, without them even finding out. Case in point, every year millions of dollars are fraudulently charged on other peoples accounts because they did not keep their account information private or used passwords that were easily guessable, among other reasons. This is also harmful to the progression of the e-commerce industry as even though the company has done its best to provide a secure shopping experience, a slight lapse on the part of the customer gives them a bad rap and increases their legal work while negatively impacting their business and their relation with the customer (Securing online privacy, 2000).
A two-pronged approach to solving these problems must be utilized, with the analysis of each aspect separately followed by the implementation of the most effective way of countering that particular problem. Innovative ideas that are to be employed for the development of a secure e-commerce model include the introduction of safer more secure way of conducting business. These secure ways include improved electronic payment methods that employ biometrics, an efficient electronic payment framework, improved encryption and network communication security, advanced customer educating techniques, active self-analysis and upgrading, and overall firewall strengthening and secure implementation (Hassler, 2000).
The researcher will adopt a qualitative approach by extracting the key points of the report from periodicals, books, magazines, internet websites and case studies that relate to this topic. These points will then be used to analyze the current state of e-commerce and how it will be affected by the critical problem of ineffective security in the future. The researcher will then offer various solutions, which in three parts will go from diagnosing the problem, to alleviating it, and then to finally eliminating and resolving it.
“This paper will analyze how the lapse of security is risking the growth of e-commerce and will address all the factors that contribute to making the system insecure. All these aspects will be discussed in detail and their advantages will be weighed against their disadvantages, with alternate and more secure methods proposed in place of weak or obsolete aspects. Finally, the newly proposed e-commerce model will be evaluated in light of the previous online business structure, comparing the advancements and the security of the new system with the faults of the old and documenting the lessons learned and the progress achieved.”
1) Ghosh, AK, 1st edition – January 21, 1998, E-Commerce Security: Weak Links, Best Defenses, John Wiley & Sons.
2) Raisinghani, M, (editor), January 7, 2002, Cases on Worldwide E-Commerce: Theory in Action (Cases on Information Technology Series, Vol 4, Part 3), Idea Group Publishing
3) Hills, R, 23 April 2003, Key risks to e-commerce security, “My IT Adviser,” Retreived on 20th February, 2004, from:
4) Hassler, V, October 2000, Security Fundamentals for E-Commerce, Artech House.
5) Mitchell, L, July 02, 2001, Securing online privacy, Securing online privacy – Successful e-commerce sites strive to gain end-user confidence, while end-users learn the ropes of online shopping, InfoWorld, Retreived on 20th February, 2004, from:
< http://archive.infoworld.com/articles/op/xml/00/10/30/001030oprx.xml >
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