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January/February 2012

Tackling SSL vulnerabilities for secure online transactions

Despite the economic gloom, business is booming on the Internet. An IBM study of 500 retailers reported that online Black Friday sales were up 24.3 percent year-over-year, while according to statistics from U.K.-based online retail software company MetaPack, online sales in December were up 30 percent and the last week before Christmas saw almost double the sales compared with last year. Critical to this success and the ongoing viability of any kind of Internet business is the ability of customers to complete secure transactions online. Whether it’s a financial transaction or logging into an online account, users need to be able to verify who they are communicating with and know that the contents of that communication are safe. However, a number of attacks on high-profile certificate authorities last year have highlighted the fallibility of Web server certificates, while the security of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), the protocol behind secure online transactions, has been called into question. In this article, we’ll examine the ...

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