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Chapter 14. Security > Why We Worry About Security for Internet Commerce

Why We Worry About Security for Internet Commerce

Many people have heard vague stories and statements about the security of Internet commerce, and their first reaction is caution (sometimes paralyzing caution). Others wonder what all the fuss is about, because we do not spend much time worrying about the security of transactions in the physical world. Why is the Internet different? Why does it inspire such worries? There are actually many reasons why the Internet is different, and why we should be cautious.

The Physical World Does Worry About Security

Many of the issues we call “security problems” for Internet commerce are the online analogs of real-world business issues. We want certain kinds of business communications to be private, we expect to be paid with real money, we require personal signatures on contracts, and so on. These expectations, and the means by which we accomplish them, have been developed over thousands of years—through the entire history of commerce. On the Internet, we are faced with these issues in a different context, so we are forced to make them explicit and to develop new solutions, all over a comparatively short period of time.


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