Safer online transaction method trialled by Scottish scientists
01 November 2012 - 13:46Tweet
If you use services offered by major e-commerce retailers, then enjoying secure, safe shopping online is relatively easy.
However, no digital shopping trip is completely without risk, which is why research carried out at two Scottish universities could help to improve the security of financial transactions that are carried out over the internet.
The problem with the current system is that the payment details of consumers are protected by pure mathematics. This means that if the code can be broken, then cybercriminals can steal information and cash from their victims.
The approach taken by the Scottish research team involves the replacement of these formulae which act as digital signatures. In their place will be so-called 'quantum' signatures, which are thought to be far more secure.
Last year, e-Fraud cost the UK 205 million and the criminal groups are only getting better at exploiting the current systems we have, which makes it tougher for retailers to promise safe shopping online to their customers.
The new quantum signature technology will use particles of light, not mathematical codes, in order to verify transactions and ensure that they are being carried out legitimately.
What makes this so impressive, aside from the hugely complex set of concepts that it involves, is the fact that researchers believe it would become almost impossible for digital fraud to occur, were such a system put in place by retailers, banks and other institutions.
The technical details of the research are baffling even in their most basic form, but it essentially amounts to approaching digital signatures in a way that is much harder to exploit.
It is said that consumers will not have to alter the way they use their current e-commerce services, so integration should be fairly seamless if retailers adopt it.
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