Beginners guides: encryption and online privacy

Wednesday, 15 October 2003, 12:54 PM EST

As on-line shopping becomes more and more an accepted part of our economy, it seems obvious that their would be a concurrent increase in the frequency of computer related crimes such as fraudulent on-line marketing sites and identity theft, and, to a certain degree there has been.

On the other hand, the success of online marketing has the goliath's of the brick and mortar business world fully involved now, most notably the banks. As larger companies get increasingly involved in doing day-to-day business on the web, they bring the same awareness of security concerns that they employ successfully in other enterprises to the Internet.

This attitude has meant that online shopping is generally just as secure as heading out to the shops yourself provided you stick to the well-lit (expensive) areas. Trouble is, it's a lot easier to make a fraudulent website look good than a storefront, plus it's all so new, meaning people get fooled. Hearing that makes others hesitant to take up online shopping, while some of the early adopters with stars in their eyes are maybe not hesitant enough.

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