Ecommerce Boom Or Bust? Essay

1352 words - 5 pages

Dotcom trading is enjoying a boom, but its future depends on maintaining consumer trust. Lindsay Nicolle reports on the threats to confidence in online security:"Like the Wild West, the internet has been largely tamed. But it still has more than its fair share of bandits. And today, they not only want your money, but your identity too. Online internet identity theft could be the next major high-tech crime wave to hit the UK, and the backwash in falling consumer confidence could create problems for even major retailers and banks."So where does that leave the long-term viability of online retailers? Are we facing a potential internet crisis where consumers withdraw to the point that online will always be a secondary channel for business?By all accounts, the weather pattern looks stormy. UK internet users are recklessly giving away too much personal information, inviting the rapidly rising crime of online identity theft, according to a poll by Winmark Research. As traditional identity theft, such as credit card fraud, becomes more difficult because of security initiatives such as chip and Pin, criminals are looking for new ways to conduct fraud.Fraud-based and phishing websites are mushrooming roughly 50% month on month, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, whose members include financial institutions, online retailers and law enforcement agencies. The latest look like legitimate, unique online e-commerce sites. They trick both casual and corporate web users into being victims of identity theft, using highly creative and sophisticated techniques.Identity theft could become the greatest threat to the future of the online business world. If users become disillusioned about internet security, consumers are likely to turn on the mechanism they feel has enabled the crime, along with any unfortunate business involved.Crucially for online businesses, 57% of consumers already believe that the responsibility for protecting their online identities and personal information is chiefly the role of the companies running the websites, according to the Winmark research. Nearly 80%, when questioned in the street, unwittingly give away enough personal information for a fraudster to steal their identity. A surprising 60% would also willingly provide easy clues for passwords related to personal information such as their date of birth or family names.On average, consumers have created more than 20 different online identities by providing personal information to websites, with 66% of people using the same password to access different types of websites - from e-mail to bank accounts. Most have little or no awareness of the existence of phishing scams and spyware.Understandably, there is a fear that when consumers start to fall victim to rising online identity theft, confidence in e-commerce will plummet, leading to a backlash against e-tailers and online banks."If the criminals succeed and internet identity theft continues to escalate out of control, the consumer...

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