Security glitch takes shine off Web

E-commerce security has been called into question after reports reveal that credit card details have been obtained by hackers

E-commerce security has been called into question after reports reveal that credit card details have been obtained by hackers

Online music store CD Universe had 25,000 customer credit card details taken earlier this month. The hacker stole the numbers and demanded blackmail money from the company to in return for not making them public. When the company refused to pay, the hacker posted the credit card details in a newsgroup.

Customers have been supportive of the company throughout the problem, says Brett Brewer, vice president of e-commerce at CD Universe, adding that a security firm, Kroll-O'Gara, has been appointed to tighten up the retailer's systems.

Brewer said that the company's policy was to accept liability for mistakes, meaning that customers are likely to be reimbursed by CD Universe.

Trustworthiness on the Internet is also a hot issue in the online auction business, where the issues are less technical than behavioural.

This month year 2000 guru Pete De Jager put the domain name year2000.com up for auction on Ebay and received a $10m bid that later turned out to be a hoax. Now Ebay has verification procedures in place to avoid this recurring.

Last year, Ebay had to delete several questionable sales proposals from its site, including the sale of a human kidney and even the supposed sale of Ebay itself over its own auction site - for $1.25.

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