The internet possess the advantages of low cost, accessibility and user-friendly. These benefits allowed banks and other financial institutions to develop online payment systems such as debit and credit cards. The development of online transactions has increased its use and many firms who wish to remain competitive and relevant have switched to online systems for processing of customer payments (Miyazaki & Fernandez, 2000). However, online payment systems face numerous challenges, including “cyber-theft”. Numerous elements of securing online transactions have been developed to ensure that online transactions are safe from cyber criminals.
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The increased use of cards for online transactions exposes the users to the risk of loss of card details. Most fraudulent internet transactions result from phishing of card details, which are then used in cyber theft (Reuvid & Ollington, 2006, p. 78). The use of strong encryption is one element that helps in securing online transactions done through debit or credit cards. According to the authors, encryption involves the payment service provider scrambling data submitted online ensuring it is not intercepted. The process is achieved through the secure sockets layer, which helps to secure online data (Waite, 2006). The most widely deployed weapon by online hackers is password phishing, which is done through phishing emails. Encryption has been more effective in preventing cyber attacks such as phishing.
The other integral element of online transactions is the card holder verification and address verification. Most banks and online payment service providers use address verifications (AVS), which checks the name of the card holder against the billing address to ensure that any mismatch is noted. The card holder verification (CVV) is a 3 or 4 digit number at the back of the card, which cannot be skimmed (Reuvid & Ollington, 2006, p. 79). Since, it is hard to skim the code, online transactions that involve use of cards can only be completed once the card holder verifies the code.
Authentication forms another key element in securing online transactions and it involves the use of passwords in protecting “authenticating” card holders when performing online transactions. The world’s biggest card companies, Visa and MasterCard use authentication. The holders of the card are invited to enter their password through a secure pop up while making online transactions. Authentication is effective and many options including phone-based, image-based and biometrics such as face detection, have been developed to enhance the security of online transactions.
Strong password is another key element in securing online transactions in websites. A strong password is pertinent in protecting data entered in a website as well as restricting access sites or networks with sensitive personal information (Casalo, Flavian, & Guinaliu, 2007). The best passwords are composed of words and numbers and not complete words that can be guessed easily. Most online payment providers such as PayPal require the use of strong passwords for authenticating users of their website and for facilitating online transactions by its customers.
In addition, to strong passwords, authentication, encryption and card verification, it is important to use only secure networks while performing online transactions. A secure website can be identified by the prefix “https” in its address (Waite, 2006). Once the transaction has been made in a secure website, it is crucial that browser history be cleared. Online hackers can use browser history to get back into personal information and card details entered into the website. Clearing website history helps to clear all the data and information entered preventing the likelihood of cyber attacks.