The growth of technology and the globalization of internet communication commerce have impacted significantly the way in which computer crimes are committed. However the widespread use of technology & the internet for business transactions & communications have exposed the industry to an increasing rate of cybercrime attacks. In this essay we analyze the security threats to e-commerce and look into the implications of cybercrime to online business. This essay also gives an overview of threat activity trends of the past years 2008-2009.
Every era of business has yield new approaches and new ways of doing business. The internet has completely changed the way of doing business that the rules laid for corporate strategy from last 50 years have began to collapse. The role of internet has been vital and can be compared to that of the telephone. It is a technique for people to communicate with each other, a way for consumers to communicate with a service company without any human interference.
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The rapid growth of internet has opened many opportunities in every field in our daily life – be it leisure, business, sports or education. However, internet also has its own disadvantages. One of the major disadvantages is cyber crime. It can be defined as illegal activity committed on the internet. There are several illegal activities that computer criminals carry out, i.e. e-mail spying, credit card fraud, spam’s, software piracy and others.
In recent times companies have increasingly combine their systems with their vendors, suppliers & customers. Thus, the risks they face increases. Companies prefer to shift toward “self-service” system within and among companies where they can get enormous opportunities for cost savings and other efficiencies in human resources, inventory, or billing. On the other side, this system makes the host companies increasingly vulnerable to security. Companies have become more conscious of maintaining their competitiveness and market leadership by giving more preference to e-commerce i.e. electronic way of doing business.
The complexity of multinational companies, their reliance on technology, and the buildup interconnectivity among different system departments have led to the emergence of electronic-business: these are rapidly evolving developments that create widespread opportunities for theft, fraud, and other forms of exploitation by offenders both outside and inside and companies.
The Definition of E-Commerce
E-commerce deals with buying and selling of goods & services by electronic means such as internet or other computer networks. E-commerce has captured the excitement and focus of today’s emerging business. It is a paperless exchange of business information using electronic data interchange (EDI), electronic mail, electronic magazines, fax transmission and online fund transfer. It refers to online shopping, stock & bond transactions, selling of software products, downloading (software, music, documents, applications etc) & business to business transactions. Another example of e-commerce would be online banking, i.e. online bill payments, buying stocks, transferring funds from one account to another, and initiating wire payment to another country.
Online shopping is widely famous as a part of e-commerce. Another hit business in the making over the vast world of internet is online shopping. This is done by companies that have the capacity to offer products to the public even if there are no actual shopping malls. Basically, the concept of e-commerce is all about using the internet to do business better and faster. Customers are given controlled access to company system and thus letting people serve themselves. As a result organizations are making a genuine online effort in integrating their website with the heart of business. In both regular commerce and e-commerce companies are always on the lookout for attracting potential buyers to their place of business. This is demonstrated by the organization’s marketing tactics including advertising, word of mouth publicity etc.
A company’s website allows customers to find a good or service they desire. The customers pay accordingly and the product or service arrives at their doorstep a few days later. At such a high level of convenience more and more people are deserting high street shops to buy things on the Internet. This online shopping is essentially referred to be e-commerce. E-commerce sites mostly function in the same manner. Here customers search through lists and descriptions of products; they add items that they want to their “Shopping Cart”; they can remove unwanted items from their basket at any time; when they want to confirm their order, they click on a “Checkout” button; they must then enter their credit card details to pay for their order. Customers are then moved to a secure location to carry out online purchasing of their purchased order. To complete the transaction, they need to supply their shipping address and credit card number.
E-commerce transactions generally take place through secure electronic connections and special merchant accounts for accepting payments. These are the fundamental processes of online shopping and online purchasing. Basically, the concept of e-commerce is all about using the internet to do business better and faster.
The Definition of Cyber Crime
Cyber crime can be defined as a crime committed over the internet by using computer as a tool or as a target. It is an illegal act committed by deception or misrepresentation by someone having a distinctive professional & technical skill for the purpose of personal or professional gain or to gain an unfair advantage over other person.
The rapid evolution of technology and internet among common masses has resulted in the growth of cyber crime. As business grows systems are becoming more and more sophisticated with less human interventions, although it is very important to monitor individual behaviors. Vulnerability to economic crime grows as organizations are still dependent on individuals as systems do not directly control. Lack of security enables criminals to disrupt the e-business process in several ways. Cyber criminals can be involved in denial of service attacks, fraudulent online applications for bank loans, extracting credit card information for resale or buying of more products etc. As internet has enabled doing business beyond or without borders it has become increasingly difficult to prevent & investigate crimes.
Like traditional crime, cybercrime can take many forms and can occur nearly anytime or anyplace. The only difference between traditional crime and cybercrime is that in cybercrime, computer or computer network are used to complete the crime, or is the target of the crime. The computer or device may be the agent of the crime, the co-coordinator of the crime, or the aim of the crime. The crime may take place on an individual computer or in addition to computers at other locations. Criminals committing cybercrime use a number of methods, depending on their skill-set and their goal. Cybercrime is, after all, merely ‘crime’ with some sort of ‘computer’ or ‘cyber’ aspect.
The most significant issues of E-commerce threat are outlined as follows.
E-commerce operators have to be careful about worms, viruses & other malicious software as they possess biggest threat to network systems. An infected system may affect the operations of the entire business services and may result in a revenue loss and may also possess the possible chances of identity thefts which happen to be of a greater concerned through customer’s perspective. An example of this was the Bugbear worm in September 2002; it had a keystroke logging capabilities which exposed the risk of capturing user’s personal details if a transaction was initiated from the infected system.
A total of 28940 different malicious and potentially unwanted programs were detected on users’ computers in August 09. That is an increase of more than 8,000 on July’s figures and points to a significant increase in the number of in-the-wild threats.
It is the intentional breakage or blocking of legitimate access by unauthorized user by flooding the victim site with unwanted traffic. Perpetrators of DoS attacks typically target sites or services hosted on high-profile web servers such as banks, credit card payment gateways, and even root name servers. The most recent example was on 6th August 09 when millions of tweeter users were silenced by the DOS attacks which ultimately led to shutdown of Twitter for hours. Not only was the site down, but client applications that depend on the Twitter API could also not connect to the service, creating a complete Twitter blackout.
An organizations website represents its E-business processes. It is always meant to convey the accurate information and to give the best impression to its users. Hence it is important to protect the site from vandalism & unauthorized alteration of its content. Defacement have posed a significant threat to websites running unpatched Web server software, such websites have become a relatively easy target even for amateur hackers. The potential impact for an E-business could be greater for a site that is purely providing information services. For example, encountering a defaced site has the potential to cause lasting damages to the customer’s impression of the business, and in particular to the perception of its security.
Datastreaming involves bulk theft of personal data (credit card details an individual) or groups hacking into specific systems which explicitly targets the E-commerce domain.
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