Electronic Commerce (Ecommerce) refers to the
buying and selling of goods and services via electronic channels, primarily the
Internet. The applications of E- commerce includes online book store, e-
banking, online ticket reservation(railway, airway, movie, etc.,), buying and
selling goods, online funds transfer and so on. During E commerce transactions,
confidential information is stored in databases as well communicated through
network channels. So security is the main concern in E commerce. E commerce applications
are vulnerable to various security threats. This results in the loss of
consumer confidence. So we need security tools to counter such security

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Keywords —
Authentication, Confidentiality, Integrity, Security, SSL.


Commerce means conducting business online. Selling goods, in the traditional
sense, is possible to do electronically because of a certain software programs
that run the main functions of an e-commerce Web site, including product
display, online ordering, and inventory management. The software resides on a
commerce server and works in conjunction with the online payment systems to
process payments. Since these servers and data lines make up the backbone of
the Internet, in a broad sense, e-commerce means doing business over the
interconnected networks. The definition of e-commerce includes business
activities that are business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B),
extended enterprise computing (also known as “newly emerging value
chains”), d-commerce, and m-commerce.


Examples Of E-Commerce:

ü  Accepting
credit cards for commercial online sales.

ü  Generating
online advertising revenue.

ü  Trading
stock in an online brokerage account.

E-Commerce plays a very important role in the growth
of industry as well as convenient and faster method of doing business. As the
trend of on-line transactions continues to grow, there will be an increase in
the number and types of attacks against the security of on-line payment
systems. Such attacks threaten the security of the system, resulting in systems
that may be compromised and less protected, resulting in consumer privacy
issues. Consumers may be at the risk for losing their personal data, since they
may be unaware of the security aspect of performing on-line transactions.
Therefore, it is very important to make the Internet safe for buying and
selling the products on-line. Global privacy consistency is required, as
Internet usage is largely unregulated, which means that the laws in one country
are not aligned with the laws in other countries.

This paper presents an overview of security threats to
E- commerce applications and the technologies to counter them. This paper is
organized as follows: the need of security in E commerce. the threats in E
commerce applications. the tools for countering those threats. And finally the


The six security needs in E-commerce applications are

ü  Access Control.

ü  Confidentiality.

ü  Authentication.

ü  Non Repudiation.

ü  Integrity.

ü  Availability.


A. Access

Access control ensures only those that authorized
require access to resources are given access. This means only the authorized
persons are allowed to access the resources.



When information is copied or read by someone not
authorized to do so, the result is known as loss of confidentiality. For some
types of information, confidentiality or privacy is a very important attribute.
Examples include research data, insurance and medical records, new product
specifications, and corporate investment strategies. In some locations, there
may be a legal obligation to protect the privacy of the individuals. This is
particularly true for loan and bank companies; debt collectors. Businesses
that extend credit to their customers or issue credit cards; hospitals,
doctors’ offices, and medical testing laboratories; individuals or agencies
that offer services such as psychological counseling or drug treatment; and
agencies that collect taxes. Information can be corrupted when it is available
on an insecure communication network. When information is modified in
unexpected ways, the result is known as loss of the integrity. This means that
unauthorized changes are made to information, whether by intentional tampering
or human error.


In e-Business, computing and information security it
is necessary to ensure that the data, transactions, communications or documents
(electronic or physical) are genuine. It is also very important for
authenticity to validate that both parties involved are who they claim they

D. Non

In law, non-repudiation means one’s intention to
fulfil their obligations to a contract. It also means that one party of a
transaction cannot deny having received a transaction nor can the other party
deny having sent a transaction. E- commerce uses technology such as digital
signatures and encryption to establish authenticity and non- repudiation.


Integrity is particularly important for critical
safety and financial information used for activities such as electronic funds
transfers, air traffic control, and financial accounting. Information can be
erased or become inaccessible, resulting in loss of availability. This means
that persons who are authorized to get information cannot get what they need.






Information system to serve its purpose, the
information must be available whenever it is needed. This means that the
computing systems used to store and process the information, the security
controls used to protect that information, and the communication channels used
to access it must be functioning correctly. High availability systems aim to
remain available at all times, preventing the service disruptions due to power
outages, hardware failures, and system upgrades.



These types of attacks occur when a user changes
system resources or gains access to system information without authorization by
either sharing logins or passwords or using an unattended terminal with an open
session. Password attack is a frequently used method of repeating attempts on a
user account and password. They are performed using a program that runs across
a network and attempts to log into a shared resource.

Integrity Attacks

In this type of attack, data or information is added,
modified, or removed in transit across the network. This requires root access
to the router or a system. If a program does not check the buffer limits when
reading or receiving data, this opening can be exploited by an attacker to add
arbitrary data into a program or system. When running, this data gives the
intruder root access to the system. Integrity attacks can create a delay,
causing data to be held or otherwise made unavailable for a period of time. The
attackers flood the network with useless traffic, making the system extremely
slow to serve the customers, and in the extreme case, causing the system to
crash down. They could also cause the data to be discarded before the final
delivery. Both delay and denial attacks can result in the denial of service (DOS)
to the network users.

C. Confidentiality Attacks

Because network computers communicate serially (even
if networks communicate in parallel) and contain limited immediate buffers,
data and information are transmitted in small blocks or pieces called packets.
The hackers use a variety of methods known collectively as social engineering


With the use of dozens of shareware and freeware
packet sniffers available, which do not require the user to understand anything
about the underlying protocols, the attackers would capture all network packets
and thereby the users login names, passwords, and even accounts. The attackers
usually take advantage of human tendency, e.g. using a single, same password
for multiple accounts. More often they are successful in gaining access to
corporate sensitive and confidential information. Some snooping attacks place
the network interface card in promiscuous mode, while the other packet sniffers
capture the first 300 bytes of all telnet, file transfer protocol (FTP), and
login sessions.

D. Virus

Viruses are computer programs that are written by
devious programmers and are designed to replicate themselves and infect
specific computers when triggered by a specific event. For example, viruses
called macro viruses attach themselves to files that contain macro instructions
(routines that can be repeated automatically, such as mail merges) and are then
activated every time when the macro runs. The effects of some viruses are
relatively benign and cause annoying interruptions such as displaying the
comical message when striking a certain letter on the keyboard. Other viruses
are more destructive and cause such problems as deleting files from a hard disk
or slowing down a system. A network can be infected by a virus only if the
virus enters the network through an outside source- for example through an
infected floppy disk or a file downloaded from the Internet. When one computer
on the network becomes infected then the other computers on the network are
highly susceptible to contracting the virus.

E. Trojan

A trojan horse is a malicious code which requires
users to invite it in, and is therefore disguised as something else.
Unsuspecting users will allow the trojan in to their machine through a
seemingly harmless and routine task, only to have their system compromised. A
typical trojan horse will be presented as something useful such as an e- mail
alert regarding a new security patch. The e- mail might provide a link,
inviting the user to click on it to download and install the patch. When the
link is followed the trojan gains access to the user’s computer and then
executes its programmed task. By design, a trojan horse is used by hackers to
gain access of a large network or secure system so as to put it to use for its
own purposes.



F. Worms

Computer worms are malicious programs designed to
spread via computer networks. Computer worms are one form of malware along with
the viruses and trojans. A person typically installs worms by inadvertently
opening an e- mail attachment or message that contains executable scripts. Once
installed on a system, worms spontaneously generate additional email messages
contaning copies of the worm. They may also open TCP ports to create networks
security holes for other applications, and they may attempt to
“flood” the network with spurious Denial of Service (DoS) data
transmissions. Being embedded inside everyday network software, computer worms
easily penetrate in to most firewalls and other network security measures.

G. Database

E-commerce systems store user personal data and
retrieve product information from databases connected to the web-server.
Besides product information, databases connected to the web contain valuable
and private information that could irreparably damage a company if it were
altered or disclosed. Some databases store username and password pairs in a
non-secure way. If someone obtains user authentication information, then he/
she can masquerade as a legitimate database user and reveal private and costly


Two types of encryption methods offer reliable
protection to E- commerce businesses. They are symmetric and asymmetric.


Symmetric encryptionmay also be referred to as single
key or shared secret encryption. In symmetric encryption, a single key is used
both to encrypt and decrypt messages. Common symmetric encryption algorithms
include AES, DES, 3DES, and RC4. Symmetric encryption algorithms can be
extremely fast, and low complex which allows for easy implementation in
hardware. Require that all hosts participating in the encryption have already
been configured with the shared secret key through some external means.


Asymmetric encryptionis also known as public-key
cryptography or two- key encryption. Asymmetric encryption differs from
symmetric encryption primarily in that two keys are used: one for encryption
and other for decryption. The most common public key encryption algorithm is

Compared to shared key encryption, asymmetric
encryption imposes a high computational burden, and tends to be much slower.
its major strength is its ability to establish a secure channel over a non-
secure medium (for example, the Internet). This is accomplished by the exchange
of public keys, which can only be used to encrypt information. The
complementary private key(non shared) is used to decrypt.

Socket Layer

The E-commerce business is all about making money and
finding ways to make more and more money. But that’s hard to if the consumers
don’t feel safe executing a transaction on your Web site. Secure Socket
Layer(SSL) is a commonly-used protocol for managing the security of a message
transmission on the Internet. When you have SSL, you are protected as well as
your customer. The server – which is basically another name for a computer that
stores information about your website for viewing by the customers and others –
must have a digital SSL certificate. SSL provides these certificates and is
able to read them. SSL certificates come from a trusted third party that can
guarantee encryption process. The SSL certificate is a proof that the server is
what it says it is. Having a SSL makes it harder for fraudsters to pretend to be
another server.

Digital Signature

Based on the public-key cryptographic method combined
with data hashing functions such as MD-5 and SHA-1, digital signatures are
implemented to verify the origin and contents of the online transaction,
translating to consumers proving their identity to vendors in the transaction
and providing non-repudiation features.

A digital signaturefunctions for an electronic
document like a handwritten signature does for printed documents. The hand
written signature is an unforgeable piece of data that asserts that a named
person wrote or otherwise agreed to the document to which the signature is
attached. A digital signature actually provides a greater degree of security
than the handwritten signature. The recipient of a digitally signed message can
verify both that the message originated from the person whose signature is
attached and that the message has not been modified either intentionally or
accidentally since it was signed. Furthermore, secure digital signatures cannot
be repudiated, this means the signer of a document cannot later disown it by
claiming the signature was forged.Digital messages, assuring that the recipient
of a digital message of both the identity of the sender and the integrity of
the message.


E. Digital

Digital Certificates provide a means of proving a
persons identity in electronic transactions, much like a driver license or a
passport does in face-to-face interactions. With a Digital Certificate, you can
assure business associates, friends and online services that the electronic
information they receive from you are authentic. Digital Certificates bind an
identity to a pair of electronic keys that can be used to encrypt and sign the
digital information. A Digital Certificate makes it possible to verify
someone’s claim that they have the right to use a given key, helping to prevent
users from using phony keys to impersonate other users. A Digital Certificate
is issued by a Certification Authority (CA) and signed using the CA’s private
key. Digital Certificates can be used for a variety of electronic transactions
which includes e-mail, electronic commerce, groupware and electronic funds

F. Smart

A smart cardcan generally be defined as a plastic card
with dimensions similar to traditional debit/credit cards, into which an
electronic device has been incorporated to allow information storage.
Frequently, it also has an integrated circuit chip with data processing
capacity. Smart cards are normally separated into two categories:
microprocessor cards and memory cards, commonly named smart cards for their
capability to do data processing and the sophisticated algorithms embedded in
them. The lack of security and a fear of hackers are some of the reasons that
have caused the slow growth of the online interactive commercial transactions
among individuals and enterprises, generally called consumer–to-business (C2B)
e-commerce. In spite of the number of these breaches, credit cards are being
used as one of the payment mechanisms over the Internet. As long as commercial
transactions over the Internet are not too great in the number and have a small
individual economic value, the actual threat could be considered at a low or
acceptable risk level. Once this type of transaction gains more consumer
confidence and the volume increases, it will attract more and more fraud
activities, thus increasing the level of risk exposure. One of the techniques
that has begun to be used in France and other countries is the smart card with
a C-SET(Chip-Secure Electronic Transaction ) protocol for online
authentication. This authenticates both the card as well as the customer, and
therefore offers a payment guarantee without customer non-repudiation.



Electronic Money

Electronic money or digital cash (DC) is an electronic
method of payment on the Internet with the result that money is transferred
from one account to another. One can visualize a DC transaction as a foreign
exchange market, in the sense that money is converted to DC before it can be
spent. When making a purchase, a buyer will send a ‘digital coin’ message
encrypted with its private key containing his identity, the amount of the coin,
Internet address, its serial number and expiry date. Kept of that transaction
to ensure that the coin is not double spent. The digital coin is also encrypted
with the merchant’s public key. The merchant decrypts the digital coin with his
private key and verifies the message. The issuer must verify the serial number
of the digital coin to confirm that it is still current and has not been
already spent. The issuer then credits the merchant’s bank account with the
currency and then cancels the serial number.


Security in electronic commerce is becoming more
topical as the shift from traditional shopping and transactions move away from
physical stores to online. Security has three main concepts- confidentiality,
integrity, and availability. Confidentiality ensures that only authorized
parties to read protected information. Integrity ensures that data remains as
is from the sender to the receiver. Availability ensures that you have access
and are authorized to resources. Globally E-commerce is growing but however it
comes with a risk that some part of the transaction is compromised which may
lead to financial loss or unindented shared private information. It is
therefore the security of e-commerce transactions that is a critical part of
the ongoing success as well as growth of E-commerce. The security threat of E
commerce includes viruses, worms, Trojan horse, Denial of service, password
thefting. The technologies for protecting E commerce transactions include
encryption of data, SSL, digital signature, digital certificates, smart card,
e- cash.