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Notes on Security Issues

These notes are intended as a guide to improving customer awareness of internet security.

With more and more small businesses appearing on the internet it is important to be
aware of the dangers of passing on sensitive financial information to strangers.
As one of these small businesses I want to give my customers a feeling of safety when
paying for their goods.

Things to avoid:
        Do not send your credit card details via email.
        Do not send User ID or passwords via email.
        Do not give these details to a stranger over the telephone.
        Avoid giving these details to anyone.

Many small businesses rely on reputable banking companies to handle their internet payments.
PayPal is one of these, but there are many more.

Advantages for the Customer:
        Security of a large international bank handling their transaction.
        Very wide choice of credit and debit cards.
        Protection against unscrupulous and dishonest transactions.
        Fully recorded and documented transaction.
        No messing with credit cards if you already have a PayPal account.
        Do not have to have a PayPal account to use the facility.
        Automatic currency conversions  - the buyer sees the value in their home currency.
        Fast verification of payment ensures goods are dispatched quickly.

Advantage for the Seller:
         No need to invest in costly secure server interface for their web site.
         No need to enrol with multiple credit card companies.
         Offer a very secure payment system to customers.
         Fast verification of payment ensures goods are dispatched quickly.

          Not all countries have PayPal.  There are a few remote places to be served.

The process is simple:
       The customer pays the bank via a secure and reputable process.
       The bank informs the seller of the payment (usually within a minute or so).
       The seller is free to release the goods to the customer.
       The seller has the money transferred to an account, minus a small commission fee.
       The buyer and the seller get emails of transfer verification and are happy in the
        knowledge that the whole process is very secure.
At no time is the seller aware of the customer's card details.
There is never a danger of unauthorised debits at a later date.

Try and avoid small companies that do not offer this service.
With so many banks offering this facility there should not be a need to pass your card details
directly to small traders or small internet businesses.
The cost to the small business is attractive - it is a small commission on each transaction.
There is no reason for a reputable trader not to offer such a service.

The image below is of a typical internet address bar with no security.

The image below is of a typical internet address bar showing a secure connection.
Note the yellow background and the padlock symbol.

The style of display will vary from browser to browser. 
This example is from Firefox.  Internet Explorer will look slightly different.

The image below shows a typical alert message, sometimes given before entering a
secure server environment.