The first reason an average individual should be concerned about his personal data's security is its confidentiality. Your Memo-to-Self may not contain anything remotely related to National security, but it is your own memo and no other person has the right to read it without your permission.

The security of your credit card number (*) over the internet and in third-party databases are the concern of those in charge of the data and the individual should only make sure that no shadowy people get hold of it. But you are the only one in charge of your own computer's contents, your own files.

Following are a few guidelines to help you insure that the confidentiality of your sensitive data is not tempered with.

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Compunigma Data Security Department

© 2004 by COMPUNIGMA Français

A note about the safety of e-commerce

The proliferation of e-business over the internet has raised many concerns about the transactional security of the entire e-commerce processes. Much emphasis has been put upon the security of the electronic communications especially when dealing with monetary transactions and various schemes have been devised to secure the transactions, but it may all be a non-substantiated hype in the case of credit card transactions.

Credit card transactions over the internet have one major flaw that has nothing to do with the security of the transmission channels : they are anonymous.

In regular CC transactions, the customer actually signs the receipt. There is no such measure over the internet. All you are asked is a card number a name -- as it appears on the card -- and an expiry date, that is also on the card. No PIN number, no codeword, no signature of any kind. The information asked can well be entered by anyone who has a face copy of your card. What is worse, you have no means of proving that it was not you who was behind the keyboard, no proof in the form of a signature. It is too easy for many people to get hold of your credit card number without going through the hassle of hacking or spoofing or phishing. When you hand-out your credit card for a transaction at a store, where you also sign a document, can you be certain that the cute minimum-wage earning clerk does not make a copy of the card's face markings and give it out to the boyfriend ? ... Such copies are known to have a street value of $10-30 ...