Internet commerce does not depend on high level encryption, according to Web specialist John Lambert.
Lambert, who is a director of London?s Information Hyperlink, said that too many IT commentators are obsessed with the idea of encryption when it was just a small part of an Internet commerce security strategy.
?Encryption only covers a transaction as it is sent along the Internet. In fact there is very little credit card fraud caused by hackers sniffing card numbers during unsecured transactions. The whole issue has been totally overblown,? he said.
Although Information Hyperlink write their own encryption keys, Lambert said that RC4 40-bit keys provide enough security to send credit card numbers on the Internet. ?The most important thing is not encryption but user authentication. You can have the highest level of encryption you like but if people give away their passwords it is next to useless," he said. ?There needs to be same level of user authentication as there is on non-Internet transactions.?
He said authentication systems where quite well understood by the industry, which seemed to be solving the problem with digital signatures.
?One of the main problems is protecting people?s privacy when they use these authentication systems. A smartcard contains a lot of information that most people would not like to be given out when they do a simple transaction,? he said.
He added that there was also a case for non-identifiable Web money, which did not have to go through a credit card or smartcard system. ?Governments are rubbing their hands with glee because Internet transactions using credit cards are easy for them to monitor. So there must be a place for some form of cybercash,? he said.
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