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Archived article from the year 2000
"Your data has a social life too"


How safe is it to shop online?

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Around 70% of Internet users are still reluctant to shop on the Web because they're concerned about security. But the number is coming down year by year as more and more people try Internet shopping and find that it's safer than they thought.

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A million credit card details
The FBI found that for a whole year an organized group of hackers from Eastern Europe exploited known Windows NT vulnerabilities in order to steal customer data. Their main interest was in blackmailing Internet banks and retailers, but they also managed to pick up a million customer credit card details along the way.

A case of fraud
Even Internet experts aren't safe. An Internet investigator at a County Sheriff's Department had his bank account cleaned out through abuse of his debit card details. It looks likely that a group of Thai hackers were to blame.

Card details exposed
A failed porn site put all its customer details on its Web site, including their orders and credit card details.

Woolworth forced to close
A security leak led to two customers' details being published on the site.

Amex cards replaced after CD site hack
Just a precaution, of course. But when a hacker gets access to a company database, this kind of stuff is inevitable.

Yes, they're hacking shopping databases
Never thought of Wales as a hackers' hot spot? Think again.

An organization set up by the ecommerce industry to reassure consumers. The idea is, you see the TRUSTe privacy seal on a shopping site and believe it has excellent privacy procedures. Unfortunately its dealings with Microsoft and Real Networks seem to have a touch of the master/slave relationship about them, so there's a big credibility gap. Here's a report from TheStandard and a similar slagging from Slashdot.

Another approval system, this on from the Better Business Bureau. The strap line, "Promoting Trust and Confidence on the Internet" says plenty. How about "Protecting the Rights of Consumers against Big Business Interests"? Now that would be worthwhile.

It would make life a lot easier if a privacy seal existed that could be trusted 100%, but so far it hasn't happened. In Europe the Data Protection Act applies to Internet transactions, so there's some kind of legal recourse. In the US, they're still scrabbling around to find an equivalent.

A decent site reporting on Internet fraud.

Big-Time Fraud
Some sobering statistics from one online shopping company

Data privacy

What every Web site can find out about you



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