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Security and Safety of e-Transactions: e-Business Risks

Online transactions are prone to many risks. Risk refers to the prospect of any mishappening that lead to financial, reputational or psychological losses to the parties concerned in a transaction. Due to greater probability of such risks in the case of online transactions, security and safety problems are the most crucial concern in e-business. One may largely discuss about the problems faced under three headings: transaction risks, data storage and transmission risks, threat to intellectual property and privacy risks.
  • Digital Cash: This can be defined as a mode of electronic currency which exists only in cyberspace. This mode of currency has no real physical properties, but caters the ability to utilize real currency in an electronic mode. On the first place, you need to pay the bank vide cheque, draft, etc., an amount corresponding to the digital cash that you want to issue in your favour. To this effect, the bank dealing in e-cash will provide a special software that will permit you to draw digital cash from your account. Digital funds can be used to make purchases over the internet. This type of payment system gives a hope to solve the security issues related to the use of credit card numbers on the internet.

Transaction Risks: Online transactions are susceptible to the following types of risks:
  • Denial of transaction by the seller or the denial by the customer of placing the order. This issue may be to addressed as ‘default on order taking/giving.’
  • The planned delivery does not take place at the right destination or delivery of goods other than ordered by the customer. This may be regarded as ‘default on delivery’.
  • In some instances the Seller does not receive the payment for goods delivered whereas the customer claims that the payment was already made. This may be addressed to as ‘default on payment’.
Hence, in e-business risk may be due to the seller or the buyer on account of default on order taking/giving, delivery and payment. These situations can be averted by providing an identity and location/address for verification at the time of registration, and receiving an authorisation as to the order confirmation and payment realization by mainting a payment record through cookies. While permitting advertisers to sell their products online, these sites assure the customers of the sellers' identities, locations and service records. There are sites like eBay that provide rating of the sellers and protection to the customers against default on delivery and reimbursement of payments. As far as the payments are concerned, the seller has to identify the buyer's credit limit and accordingly process the payment to avoid risk factors. Alternatively, e-commerce technology today permits even online processing of the credit card information like card number, name and validity of the card. In order to protect the credit card details being misused, shopping malls using the encryption technology like Netscape's Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which is an important tool for safeguarding against data transmission risks in online transactions.

Data Storage and Transmission Risks: Information can be compared to power indeed. But when the power goes into the wrong hands, data stored in the system and en-route is prone to a number of risks. Important information may be stolen or modified to achieve selfish objectives or simply for fun/ adventure. As we are aware of 'virus' and 'hacking', the full form of the acronym 'VIRUS?' means Vital Information Under Siege. Basically, virus is a program that replicates itself on the other computer systems. The effect of computer viruses range from sheer annoyance to some on-screen display (Level-1 virus), disturbance in functioning (Level-2 virus) damaging target data files (Level-3 virus), which leads to complete destruction of the system (Level-4 virus). By installing and updating anti-virus programmes on a timely basis will scan the files and disks for virus attacks thereby providing protection to your data files, folders and systems. Data can be intercepted in the course of transmission by using cryptography. Cryptography refers to the process of protecting information by converting it (encrypting it) into an unreadable format known as 'cyphertext'. It can be deciphered (to decrypt) only by those who possess a secret key the message into 'plaintext'. This is in other words equal to using 'code words' with some one so that others do not comprehend your conversation.

Risks of Threat to Intellectual Property and Privacy: Internet is an open that gives more room for information and moves out of the private domain. So is it difficult to protect it from being misused or copied. Data furnished during online transactions may be provided to others who may start loading a host of advertising and promotional literature on to your e-mail inbox. You are the recipient with little respite from receiving rubbish mails.

Resources Required for Successful e-Business Implementation: Starting a business requires money, men and machines (hardware) whereas, for e-business, you require additional resources in order to develop, operate, maintain and enhance a website where 'site' gives the meaning location and 'web' means world wide web (www). Basically, a website is an organisation's location on the world wide web. It is an online personification of all the contents that an organization may like to provide to others.

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