The secure electronic transactions (SET) protocol, being developed to secure credit card transactions on the Internet, remains too problem ridden for widespread use, according to analysts.
Victor Wheatman, Gartner Group's resident security expert and analyst, said because of its problems, SET is unlikely to be used in 80 per cent of Internet credit card transactions, even by 2005.
"The inhibitors to using SET are several and significant. Enterprises should delay deploying it until they are resolved," he told attendees at the Gartner Group Symposium in Orlando today.
According to Wheatman, problems include:
- A transaction can take 30 to 50 seconds to process - the only way to get acceptable speed is to add a cryptographic processor in hardware.
- The protocol is too code heavy due to the potential number of different processes that need to take place between bank, merchant and consumer just to facilitate one transaction.
- SET doesn't support smartcards or debit cards yet.
- It is the banks that are likely to benefit most - consumers still need convincing there is a need to add complexity of SET certificates to what is currently a straightforward process.
Wheatman conceded that some of these problems may be resolved in the next version of SET, but that many of its original supporters have switched to using Secure Sockets Layer based methods for the meantime.
He said at a wider level public key infrastructure (PKI), a framework for establishing trust between parties over a network using digital certificates, was still at an early stage.
Up to 40 per cent of PKI deployments in organisations would fail because the technology was not mature or organisations would not treat it as a priority, he said. As a result, 20 per cent of organisations would outsource at least part of their PKI efforts.
This should not stop enterprises planning early their future security requirements because ebusiness was opening up computer networks to more risks. He said 80 per cent of enterprises would pilot one or more vendors' certificate authority technology during the next four years.
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