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    Link: http://www.stormpay.com/?41820&safe_money)
  • How Safe Is Your Money Online?
    Copyright 2003, Bill Platt

    Buying products and services on the Internet has never been as 
    easy and safe as it is today. 
    
    In the early days of the Internet, the fear of electronic crime 
    nearly strangled the growth of e-commerce. 
    
    
    THE HOLLYWOOD EFFECT
    
    Movies such as "The Net" which told a story of identity theft, 
    and "Hackers" which told of the antics of some teenage hackers 
    who used the Internet to stay one step ahead of the law, put 
    the fear of the worst into online consumers.  
    
    We should all know Hollywood well enough by now to know that we 
    should put little faith into the exactness of the details of 
    their plots. No one believes that real secret agents will have 
    the same capabilities as "James Bond", right? So, why should we 
    give more credence to the other stories coming out of Hollywood? 
    We shouldn't.
    
    Fear mongers of all sorts also played their part in nearly 
    scaring consumers away from the Internet. 
    
    As a result of the negative publicity in relationship to the 
    Internet, e-commerce had very difficult beginnings. 
    
    
    WE ARE NOW TEN YEARS INTO THE GRAPHICAL INTERNET
    
    We are now ten years down the road now from the creation of 
    the first graphical Internet browser. The first such computer 
    application was called Mosaic and was released for public use 
    by Netscape in 1993. The release of Mosaic actually signaled 
    the creation of the modern graphical Internet.
    
    
    ENCRYPTION ASSURES THE SECURITY OF THE INTERNET
    
    Today, people do not have much concern about the safety of the 
    Internet to make purchases. There is a good reason for the 
    confidence that people now possess in this regard. 
    
    Encryption is the most important factor in turning around the 
    negative perception of the safety of the Internet to conduct 
    financial transactions.
    
    Encryption is a method of coding a conversation between two 
    computers so that a third computer cannot understand the 
    conversation. Encryption uses a key to create a secret language 
    for the two conversing computers to talk without fear of a third 
    being able to translate the original conversation. 
    
    
    WHAT IS ENCRYPTION AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
    
    To better understand the nature of encryption, one only needs 
    to think about the science of cryptography. In the old days, 
    people would only substitute one letter for another letter of
    the alphabet and assign a key for the reader to understand 
    which letter has been substituted for the other.
    
    Even the cryptogram in your daily newspaper is a very simplistic 
    rendition of the basic encryption methods used by our computers 
    every day. 
    
    Computers use what is called public-key encryption. Public-key 
    encryption uses a combination of a private key known only to 
    your computer and a public key, which will be passed to the 
    computer trying to communicate with yours.
    
    If you want a deeper understanding of computer encryption than 
    what I am going into here, you can read up on the subject at 
    HowStuffWorks.com: 
       http://computer.howstuffworks.com/encryption.htm
    
    
    HOW CAN WE BE SURE OUR INFORMATION IS SECURE?
    
    Skipping right to the meat of the encryption equation, the 
    technology guru's have created a system by which we the 
    consumers can take one look at our browser to know whether 
    the information we are getting ready to transfer is secured.
    
    When you reach a page that asks for you to type in your 
    financial information for delivery to another computer, you 
    should look for two pieces of information from your browser.
    
    Whenever you are on a website or a web page that protects your 
    information, you will notice a small lock in the bottom of your 
    browser --- either on the left-hand side for Netscape or the 
    right hand side for Internet Explorer.
    
    Additionally, you can look at the URL in your Address Bar. If 
    the page location is preceded by "http://" then you are on an 
    unsecured page. On the other hand, if the page location is 
    preceded by "https://" then Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is 
    securing your personal information.
    
    As part of the global Internet security protocol --- SSL enables 
    browsers and servers to safely transmit sensitive information 
    across the global network.
    
    
    HOW SECURE IS SECURE?
    
    My descriptions here have been very basic. Public keys use very 
    complex algorithms for encrypting the data being transported 
    between computers.
    
    From the need for this technology to work in the open 
    environment of the web, special private keys called Digital 
    Certificates were created to enable online businesses to 
    offer secured communications to their customers. 
    
    Digital Certificates from GeoTrust, Thawte, Verisign and others 
    are distributed in 40-bit or 128-bit format. The higher the 
    -bit numbers the higher the level of security being offered.
    
    To put 128-bit encryption technology into perspective, a 
    128-bit number has a possibility of 
    3,402,823,669,209,384,634,633,746,074,300,000,000,000,000,000,000
    ,000,000,000,000,000,000 different combinations!
    
    With 128-bit encryption in place, a third computer, which might 
    be able to intercept a single piece of information, will not be 
    able to interpret the captured information.
    
    
    HOW CAN WE USE THIS INFORMATION TO PROTECT OURSELVES?
    
    Just because the company you wish to do business with does not 
    have their own Digital Certificate does not mean that you cannot 
    have secure transactions with them. Digital Certificates are 
    expensive to purchase and to set up on a server --- the last 
    time I went through that process, the cost of setup was in 
    excess of $1400!
    
    Granted, my current domains do not have SSL encryption on them. 
    However, all transactions for my domains are in fact handled 
    through a secure server.
    
    How is this possible?
    
    Like many small businesses, I employ a third-party payment 
    processor to secure my transactions.
    
    
    SECURE ONLINE TRANSACTIONS THROUGH A THIRD-PARTY PROVIDER
    
    StormPay is one of the newer payment processors on the Internet. 
    More and more online companies are beginning to join with us in 
    offering additional payment options through the StormPay secure 
    transaction center. 
    
    StormPay permits people to place money into their online accounts
    through more methods than the majority of their competitors. 
    
    Like PayPal, StormPay permits people to put money into an 
    account for the purpose of making purchases online. Like PayPal, 
    StormPay permits credit card holders to make a purchase directly 
    through the StormPay system.
    
    Contrary to PayPal, StormPay permits people to put money into 
    their accounts by billing their telephone, by using online 
    checks, and by eighteen other methods. 
    
    StormPay also permits people from more foreign countries to 
    actively participate in the global Internet economy. 
    
    Unlike PayPal, StormPay will not freeze your funds without 
    explanation or recourse. (Please read the documentation at:
    http://www.PayPalSucks.com) StormPay will only freeze an 
    account due to Spam or Fraud.
    
    You can sign up for a free account at StormPay by visiting the 
    following link: https://www.stormpay.com/?41820 
    
    If you are so inclined, you may also make a few extra dollars 
    by referring your friends to the StormPay program.
    
    StormPay uses the 128-bit Digital Certificate from GeoTrust to 
    secure all of your transactions.

    Bill Platt owns http://thePhantomWriters.com . Do you need free content for your website or ezine? Our archives deliver more than 350 free-reprint articles available for your use. http://content.thePhantomWriters.com . Do you write your own articles? Let us distribute them for you to our network of 6000+ publishers & webmasters http://thePhantomWriters.com/distribution



    This article was originally written: February, 2003


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