Business has always been part of our human life. Everyday, aware or unaware, we engage ourselves to business – in supermarkets, malls, boutiques, ”sari-sari” stores, and many more. Even as a student, we also experience it whenever we buy food for lunch at the foodcourt and even when riding a public utility jeepney. We might also practiced selling our own stuffs like our cellphones, digital cameras, mp3 players, and the like just to earn money. These are traditional ways of transacting business with others but because of the technological advances our world is experiencing, an online-based business transaction using the Internet has been developed – commonly known as electronic commerce (e-commerce).
E-commerce systems are based upon Internet use, which provides open and easy communications on a global basis. Electronic transactions involve the transfer of ownership or rights to use a good or service using linked computer systems of the vendor, host, and buyer. Apart from being fast and convenient, online business transactions, however, poses a wide range of risks and threats to the vendor, the buyer, as well as the systems operating on it. Because of the fact that the internet is accessible to anyone, wherever in the world a person may be, this kind of business is very prone to scams, fraud advertisements and data manipulations by internet hackers. Therefore, despite the benefits it offers, e-commerce has also its disadvantage – including possible security risks.
Enumerated below are just some of the more common threats that hackers pose to e-commerce:
- Gaining access to sensitive data such as price lists, catalogues and valuable intellectual property, and altering, destroying or copying it.
- Gaining access to financial information about your business or your customers, with a view to perpetrating fraud.
- Using viruses to corrupt business data
- Altering the website, thereby damaging the owner’s image or directing its customers to another site.
- Carrying out denial-of-service attacks that stop access to authorized users of a website, so that the site is forced to offer a reduced level of service or, in some cases, ceases operation completely.
In my opinion, e-commerce is a very nice way to do business in this modern world but keep in mind that we should be careful in entrusting our personal information and valuable intellectual properties only to those companies who deserves our trust. I guess, there’s no such thing in this world that doesn’t have its equivalent risks and consequences. For me, it’s up to the doer to weigh its benefits and risks before doing such action. Though we are often times blinded by its striking benefits it offers us, buyers as well the vendors should be critical enough in deciding whether to engage or not in that kind of business.