Online payments or e-payments

On October 10th, 2011, Posted by author

Last modified: October 26, 2015

Electronic commerce or online purchases of goods and services have become the focus of Information Technology growth. In order to pay for such services and goods, there are many types of electronic payment protocols and systems available on the Internet.

Most of these need complex cryptography and authentication mechanisms that  also invite relatively high processing costs.

Examples of online payment systems are credit card debiting, digital cash and real-time bank transfers. In these cases the payment is made before or at the time of the delivery of the purchase. Transactions for purchase of food, books, toys, stationery, home appliances use these methods of payments. These are one-time payments and the customer need not visit the marketing site again unless he so desires.

Websites of newspapers and similar services charge subscription rates, where the customer is charged for each visit to the site or per page, even if he is interested only in some aspects of the site.

Still other websites offer e-wallets that contain e-money that can be used on other websites. Smart card-based electronic wallets, e-cash, certified bank checks are the cash-like payment systems while payments made through credit cards and debit cards are included in the check-like systems.

Whatever the system of payment made, all electronic payment systems must demonstrate integrity, authorization, confidentiality, availability, and reliability for ensuring the security of the transactions. To prove the authenticity of the payment, key cryptography is used that may be of the shared-key or public-key type.

E-payment protocols can be attacked by attacking the protocol itself like by making use of the vulnerabilities in the cryptographic techniques, by making use of the refresh/replay of the previous messages, putting up false systems to get the passwords and PINs. The cryptographic attack makes use of brute force to try out all possible key combinations or by analysis of the cryptosystems to find their weaknesses.

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