With all the benefits of e-commerce there are dangers such as identity theft for consumers and cyber attacks on websites. Site owners need take preventative measures. Wellman presents some security procedures and scripts for PHP driven sites.
Life in the digital age certainly has its benefits; I can buy the latest CD, before it even hits the shops, for the cheapest price in the world from a shop thousands of miles away, all without leaving the comfort of my armchair (ok, my office chair). True, I'll have to wait for a couple of days before the item is actually delivered, but to me that's a small price to pay. An example of an instantaneous process could be opening a bank account in Switzerland in order to pay less tax on your savings. Or searching for a better quote on your car insurance, (a lot of insurance companies actually offer a discount simply for signing up online) and buying it online. Companies like to offer e-commerce solutions to save on their overhead, and the average person likes e-commerce because it opens up whole new markets and saves money. There are many online stores that simply would not exist if it weren't for the Internet.
But life in the digital age can also have its downfalls; what if your credit card details are stolen from an online store that you recently made a purchased from? What if your log-in password to a site is hacked and someone takes all of your details, opens up a bank account in your name and takes out a ten grand bank loan? It's not the most likely thing to happen, but it's certainly possible, and for many people, easy. Identity theft was the fastest growing crime last year.
It is not just the customers of e-commerce that are at risk either; online stores have an obligation to their customers to protect sensitive and personal information supplied by their customers. Stolen information may result in compensation payments, and a loss of future business. Misleading information planted on your site may confuse or anger customers, and a Denial of Service attack that crashes the server your site is hosted from could easily result in loss of income. It's true that anyone owning a physical shop runs the risk of being robbed or burgled, but at least the perpetrators have to actually be present; a hacker could attack from anywhere in the world.