Internet security is constantly trying to meet the needs of the public and private sectors. Businesses, as well as individuals, are always looking for the latest security developments to make sure that their data is secure. This has led to companies trying to find new ways of protecting data; we must remember that the Internet is still a relatively new concept – any security is even newer – and so there are lots of advances yet to be made.
A fact of the current state of affairs is that there are very few viruses trying to access businesses’ data. While they might be the most profitable, due to a large network connection, most virus creators target the home consumer’s bank and email data because it’s easier to break into. Companies, after all, pay for the very best and latest security programs to protect their computers, while many home users rely on free alternatives.
One advance which has emerged recently is the adaptive security method. This system relies on major computing companies such as Compaq and 3Com to allow their products to access the ISS (Internet Security Systems) network to fend off Internet attacks. The idea is that by sharing this data between networks, the time between detecting an attack or virus and being able to deal with said virus is reduced. With a global system of computers sharing this data, the overall result should be an impregnable global computer system.
There are also improvements to SSL being proposed. SSL is the system that credit card providers currently use secure payments over the web. However the big providers have expressed an interest in the SET (secure electronic transaction) method to replace SSL. This new method is more secure, and prevents the online retailer from viewing card details. With SSL, online retailers can view the card number in an effort to check that the card is valid: with SET, the credit card companies can retain that information and simply provide an assurance that each card is valid. Through decryption the retailer can charge the correct amount to the correct person, with heightened security for the customer. This results in a win-win situation. It might also engender a greater sense of security for users who avoid online shopping because they think their anti-virus programs and firewalls are insufficient to prevent online fraud.
Biometrics and Internet security are still being tested. One of the biggest drawbacks for biometrics is that they rely on the back-end of the network to authenticate the user’s biological data – a process which can be manipulated, and thus override the biological checks that make the system secure. There are additional problems also: while the technology is very good, the margin for error is high, with authorized users being rejected and, conversely, the possibility that non-authorized users will be allowed access under a false identity check. Biometrics cannot check that you should be authorized: it can only check if you register as authorized, and therefore there are still loopholes that need updating before relying solely on biometrics to secure online data.