Security, particularly in an era of identity theft and impersonation, is one of the primary concerns that restrain consumers from engaging with the e-commerce. Especially, web-based e-commerce applications that handle payments like electronic transactions, online banking, or the use of credit cards, debit cards, and other tokens like the PayPal, are a happy hunting ground for the hackers, making the application vulnerable to security breaches.
Possibly the biggest threat to e-commerce is Trojan horse, as these programs can subvert or bypass the authentication mechanisms that are generally used in an e-commerce transaction. These bugs are usually transmitted to a remote computer by the easiest of means, such as an email.
Consumer training, to avert this kind of threats, is the most crucial component of the e-commerce security architecture. Unfortunately, educating the customers on security issues is a process that is still in its infancy stage.
However, at an internal level, there are various other security measures that e-commerce businesses can implement to provide a reliable platform for secure payment transactions.
Ensuring payment security is crucial for any e-commerce enterprise, as it helps in building better customer relationships and a solid trust factor. This eventually aids in business expansion, and attracts more repeat customers.
Let’s discuss the top seven payment security measures to think about before setting up an ecommerce portal –
1) The Encryption Approach
Encryption is a process of converting plain text or data into ciphertext so that the transmitted information cannot be accessed by anyone other than the receiver and the sender. The idea of encryption is (1) to secure stored data and (2) to guard information transmission.
There are various types of encryption that differ in features as well as the context of deployment. Nevertheless, Public Key Encryption and Symmetric Key Encryption are the two most popular methods implemented at large by the ecommerce industry.
In Public Key Encryption two mathematically correlated digital keys are used, which are a private key and a public key, while in Symmetric Key Encryption, both the receiver and the sender use identical keys to encrypt and decrypt the information.
2) Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
Developed by Netscape Communications Corporation, Secure Socket Layer, or SSL, is apparently the most prevalent security model deployed by e-commerce businesses worldwide to secure its payment channels.
The SSL implements data encryption, optional client authentication, server authentication, and message integrity for TCP/IP connections. The protocol’s design aims to prevent eavesdropping, tampering of information, and forgery while transmitting data over the Internet between two interacting applications.
Secure Socket Layer is a traditional protocol, widely adopted across the ecommerce industry. It meets the following security provisions −
“http:/” is used for HTTP URLs without SSL, whereas for HTTP URLs with SSL, “https://” is applied.
3) Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol (S-HTTP)
S-HTTP enhances security over the internet by empowering the HTTP internet protocol with authentication, public key encryption, and digital signatures.
Secure HTTP strives to make transactions more secure by negotiating encryption schemes used between a server and the client. Created to coexist and seamlessly integrate with the HTTP, it enables optimal end user security through multiple defence mechanisms.
4) Secure Electronic Transaction (SET)
The SET specification, collaborated by MasterCard and VISA, ensure the safety of all parties involved in an e-commerce transaction. It is specifically designed to perform critical functions like –
- Authenticating cardholders and merchants
- Ensuring confidentiality of information and payment data
- Define protocols and electronic security service providers
Secure Electronic Transaction enables interoperability between applications across diverse platforms and operating systems. SET integrates the following components −
- Digital Wallet Software − Secures cardholder’s online purchases via point and click interface.
- Merchant Software − Helps merchants interact with financial institutions and customers in a secure manner.
- Payment Gateway Server Software − Provides support for merchant’s certificate request, enabling an automatic and standard payment process.
- Certificate Authority Software − Assists financial institutions issue digital certificates to merchants and cardholders to register for secure electronic commerce.
5) Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance
The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, formed in 2006, is a compliance that comprehensively secures the payment system. PCI monitors online transactions and its vulnerabilities, helping merchants secure the financial data of their customers.
6) Safe Login Screen
It is critical to make the login system as secure as possible. Otherwise, it will be easy for the hackers to infiltrate and get access to sensitive data. Implementing this safety protocol is moderately easy, but it can efficiently ward off many security threats.
7) Digital Signature
Digital signature is an encrypted message with a unique private key capable of verification. The signature is linked to the data in such a way that in case the data is altered, the electronic signature is automatically invalidated.
Securing the safety and confidentiality of customer’s’ payment information is a serious issue. The above guidelines will help e-commerce enterprises decrease the possibility of security breaches, boosting their confidence to expand businesses online.
Author: Kishore Kapoor
Kishore Kapoor an industry veteran of 31 years in global banking technology. A Founder & CEO of eKutumb.com – World’s first marketplace for enterprise software delivery and consulting business by creating value for all of industry stakeholders involved (customers, partners, individuals and investors) through a disruptive and trans-formative approach of doing business.