Just lately I’ve had interchanges with business people, family and even MSPs where I was somehow more attuned to “fear factor” language then I’m accustomed to. I’ve even asked people I know and respect why some people are “fearful?” I think my sensitivity relates to my new “Start-Up” mindset. Each to their own.
So, tongue in cheek, this missive is intended to scare the snitz of you. I’m assuming you have an opening for more fright in your fear bucket. I’m here to fill you up.
What I’m speaking towards is a white paper I recently read titled “Hidden Dangers Lurking in E-Commerce – Reducing Fraud with the Right SSL Certificate. Given I have a Facebook-like high need for attention, I immediately thought I could ruffle some feathers by making you exasperated with my exaggerations. Here we go!
When you download this whitepaper HERE, you can expect to discover the following conversation.
Shopping online has now become almost second nature to most of us, but where did it all start, and what enabled it to grow to the levels that we see today? Reportedly1 it was back in 1994, with the first known web purchase being a pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and extra cheese from Pizza Hut. When that first pizza was ordered – and, a year later, when online retail giant Amazon sold its first book (Douglas Hofstadter’s ‘Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought’2), it ushered in a torrent of activity. Two decades later, global e-commerce sales for 2013 have been calculated at upwards of $1.2 trillion3. What facilitated this tectonic shift in our shopping habits? Trust.
Trust in who we were shopping with, and trust that the purchase information we provided would be secured. Because as ever, where there is money there will always be criminals - eager to take advantage of the burgeoning opportunity. But if trust is the grease that lubricated the online marketplace, what is the technical basis for that trust? The answer is in part solved with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), and more specifically, digital certificates - a reliable technology which has worked well for decades, and can continue to do so. But for this to happen, it has to be deployed responsibly. Put simply, not all certificates are created equal – and today, some ingenious criminals have found a way to corrupt the very system that was designed to stop them. As a result we need to make sure that certificates are matched to their uses and that when people send their personal and financial information across the internet they can have confidence that the recipient is not a criminal.
In fact, research from Norton estimates the global price tag of consumer cybercrime now topping some US$113 billion annually4 which is enough to host the 2012 London Olympics nearly 10 times over. The cost per cybercrime victim has shot up to USD$298: a 50% increase over 2012. In terms of the number of victims of such attacks, that’s 378 million per year – averaging 1 million plus per day.
What is a Digital Certificate and what is SSL?
In order to transact business online, consumers and businesses needed a way of exchanging credit card numbers, passwords, and other personal information securely. SSL is the technology that protects much of the Internet and in essence it enables e-commerce. It “lights up” the padlock symbol in the browser to tell the consumer they are safe to send their credit card information to a vendor in a