Title

The Tension between Online Security and Efficiency in Relation to Online Business

Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

2003

Advisor

Noreen Herzfeld, Computer Science

Abstract

In order to better understand the internet security issues related to e-commerce, I will first describe the method that the internet uses for sending information. Communication over the Internet uses the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), which sends information from one computer to another though a variety of intermediate computers and separate networks before the data reaches its intended destination. TCP/IP’s flexibility has led to its worldwide acceptance; however, because TCP/IP allows information to pass though intermediate computers, it is possible for a third party to interfere with communications through eavesdropping and tampering. In the act of eavesdropping, the information sent remains unscarred, but its privacy is compromised. In tampering, information is changed or replaced at some intermediate computer and then sent on to the receiving computer. Impersonation, including spoofing and misrepresentation, is also an online problem that businesses must face. This problem occurs when someone either takes on somebody else’s actual identity, or when someone takes on an imagined persona. The potential exists to avoid many of these security issues through the use of security methods; however, as mentioned earlier, increasing online security often creates a tension between security and efficiency. This tension occurs in the form of increased processing power and the high economic cost of efficiency software. High economic costs of efficiency software can be detrimental to the survival of small businesses, causing many small businesses to compromise their security. In order to create a suitable environment for business transactions, steps should be taken to allow all sizes of business to provide adequate security online.

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