Security & the Internet

by Baron Tayler

published in ANVIL Magazine, June 1997

Every day you hand your credit card to complete strangers and never give it a second thought. The gas station attendant. The restaurant waiter. The street corner vendor. Yet you don't perceive that you're providing these strangers the opportunity to steal your credit card number, because you've grown used to transacting business this way. It's a part of everyday life.

In the next ten years, the amount of business transacted over the Internet in terms of dollar volume will mushroom. The issue of security has become a hot topic in the media, and many people have gained the perception after listening to the talking heads that security on the Internet is not good, and using a credit card on the Internet is dangerous. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The development of what is known as "public key" encryption systems, with keys over 100 digits long, has solved the issue of security on the Internet. Any Internet site located on a server that has a Secure Commerce Server in use can make monetary or any other private transactions with complete security.

How secure are the encrypted transmissions? The National Security Agency, which is supposed to be the watchdog for our nation's security, has outlawed the export of Secure Commerce Server encryption systems over 40 digits long. Why? Because they fear these systems will fall into terrorist hands, and since there's no practical way for the encrypted transmissions to be cracked by third parties, they're trying to keep them all in the country.

Now I ask you: If the NSA is worried that the best brains in the CIA can't crack these encrypted transmissions, even with super computers at their disposal, how is any other thief going to do it?

Did you know there are three banks already operating completely on the Internet? They have no physical locations. Every day they transact millions of dollars of business over the Internet.

This issue is important to you as a blacksmith and as a farrier because the opportunity for you to actually purchase supplies online already exists. If you have been holding back because of a lack of certainty about Internet security, you may safely put those fears to rest. The Marketplace in The Farrier & Hoofcare Resource Center currently offers online purchasing from one supplier and four manufacturers. The Resource Center is located on a Secure Commerce Server, so security is not a problem.

The next time someone says that using your credit card on the Internet isn't safe, simply ask them, "When was the last time you gave your card to a gas station attendant?"

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