Payment security lingo: What’s point-to-point Encryption

Tag: online security

Payment security lingo: What’s point-to-point Encryption

Payment security lingo: What’s point-to-point Encryption

One of the biggest threats to online security comes from data breaches. Such breaches have now become mainstream and it is now very important for the companies to save their data from such infringement. There are several new technologies and tools available for securing the data belonging to the business and its clients.   One such important tool is Point to Point encryption or P2P encryption, as it is popularly known. It is especially important for businesses which accept online payments through different modes including debit cards and credit cards.

What is P2P encryption?

P2P encryption refers to a standard established by the PCI Security Standards Council. The main aim of this standard is to ensure that confidential data pertaining to debit and credit cards are instantaneously into unbreakable codes. Such coding is important to ensure that the data is protected against fraud and hacking. The standard is designed to provide optimal security of payment process and data for online card transactions.

The P2P encryption Standard enumerates the requirements to be fulfilled by an online payment solution to qualify as a PCI validated P2PE solution. These requirements pertain to a complete set of software, hardware, decryption, gateway and device handling etc. The final decision in this regard rests with P2PE Qualified Security Assessors, who are independent third party entities with requisite qualifications to make such assessment. It is important to note that only ‘solutions’ may be validated and not individual units of hardware. If a payment solution does not meet the requirements for being validated as P2PE solution but offers similar type of encryption then it may be accredited at End to End Encryption Solution.

How Does it Work?

P2P encryption works using a number of secure applications, devices and other related processes. Whenever a business swipes a debit or a credit card, it initiates an interconnected series of actions. The point of interaction device, which is used for swiping the card, encrypts the information immediately. If the device is PCI validates then it uses an algorithm for the purpose of encryption. These encrypted codes are then sent to the payment processor or payment gateway, which decode the information. The main requirements for setting up a PCI P2P encryption system include the secure management of encryption devices as well as decryption devices and the proper upkeep of decryption environment.

It should be noted that coding and decoding keys are not provided to the merchants. They are given a unique token number to identify particular transactions so that they can keep proper records and issue refunds as and when required. However, merchants stand to gain a lot from this process. They are assured of the safety and security of their transactions. Their business is protected against card frauds, which in many cases lead to heavy financial loss. The merchants are also able to improve their turnover by assuring the customers about the safety of their data and payments.

P2P Encryption vs. End to End Encryption

For P2P encryption, there are certain features which are unique to this protocol. The solution offers hardware to hardware coding and decoding where POI device comes with Secure Reading and Exchange of Data function. The solution is also required to be validated for the PCI P2PE Standard. For this purpose, the solution should fulfill the requirements such as temper evident packaging, shipping and installation. Such solutions also come with instructional manual to guide merchants about device use and storage.

End to End encryption, on the other hand, does not unencrypt the card details between the two terminals. It secures the data provided the endpoints are offered by PCI accredited organizations.

The Benefits

P2P encryption is important for the development of ecommerce and online businesses. Many customers are not inclined to make online transactions due to the fear of data breach and financial losses. By providing P2P encryption, the businesses can assure their clients that their financial data will be secure. This can help in increasing the revenue for the business, adding to the bottom line. All leading payment processors now offer P2P encryption to ensure smooth and safe transactions.


5 Reasons to Avoid Cheap or Free Cloud Hosting

There is a plethora of choices available when it comes to choosing your web host. Cloud based hosting has become the norm now and there are several options to choose from. However, it is important that you undertake serious analysis before deciding to go with a particular course of action. While you may want to keep your costs down and opt for free or cheap cloud hosting, you should ensure that such freebies do not come with hidden costs. In many cases, such cheap services may actually cost you a lot more in terms of lost sales or credibility. Here are some of the top reasons why going with a free or cheaper cloud hosting option may not be the best choice.

Reliability: The dependability of the service provider is one of the biggest criteria while choosing a hosting partner. This will ensure that your website is up at all the times and will run in a smooth manner. These factors are essential for providing the best services to your clients. In the case of free or cheap cloud hosts, there may not be any certainty about the longevity of their business. If they decide to close their business at any point of time, you will be left with a non-functional website. You may have to incur high expenses to transfer your content to an alternate site. Apart from causing financial loss, this situation will also hamper your daily operations.

Security Issues: Security should be foremost in your mind while selecting a web host. This is especially important if you are hosting an e-commerce website. In such cases, there is a lot of sensitive information at stake. Your free or cheap cloud host may provide unsatisfactory security measures or none at all. Since their servers are shared by a number of websites, the security issues may become even more pertinent. Further, the lack of security tools for the purpose of cost cutting may make things worse. Ultimately, such cheap services may prove to be far more expensive for you.

Poor Performance: There are several factors which determine the efficacy of a website. Some of the main performance metrics are page-load speed, loading error and downtime. Page load speed denotes the time a website takes to display its content. Your free or cheap cloud host may not be able to provide enough bandwidth for the speedy loading of your website. This situation may translate to dissatisfied clients who may choose to take their business elsewhere. Furthermore, many search engines use loading speed as a criterion for ranking purposes. In such cases, you may incur further losses as your website may be ranked lower solely due to its poor loading speed.

Technological Issues: If your host does not have the right technology then your website may show loading errors, again leading to loss of business. If your website frequently faces loading errors, then your clients may switch to a different service provider to avail seamless services. Free or cheap cloud hosts may also experience more frequent downtime, again leading to client loss. Such downtime may be scheduled but they ultimately eat into your business and may cause client dissatisfaction. Such issues are more prevalent with free or cheap cloud host since they may not have resources to offer the latest technological tools.

Lack of Support System: If you do choose a free or cheap cloud host, you may have to run your website without much support. These hosts generally do not provide any support system. In case of any website issues, you are on your own to figure out the problems and resolve them. Further, you may also receive a limited set of features which might not let you design your website according to your requirements. They may only have set templates which you can choose from, limiting your creativity and hampering the productivity of your website. Free or cheap cloud hosts generally provide limited storage and bandwidth which may not be enough to fulfill your requirements.

This is why you can safely conclude that free or cheap cloud hosts are only suitable for temporary websites or when you are just starting out to test the waters. If you are running a professional website and hoping to provide a seamless and fuss-free experience to your clients, you may want to look at other options available in the market.

Good Cyber security Habits by Which to Live

Good Cyber security Habits by Which to Live

Cyber security is an extremely important concept in today’s interconnected world. The significance of this phenomenon has been recognized through the fact that organizations now carry out formal educational seminars to make its employees aware of dangers in the cyber world and the ways to tackle them. There are certain ways you can ensure the safety of your business and data from cyber frauds.

  1. Create Awareness: the first step in ensuring the cyber security is to make all the users aware of cyber attacks, their consequences and the ways to avert them. Many times, employees believe that cyber security is the responsibility of IT department. However, this is not true as most of the cyber threats mainly arise due to certain actions taken by employees outside the IT department. It is important to empower your employees to ensure that they carry out best practices. This exercise should be undertaken by businesses of all sizes and sectors. With elevated awareness, your staff can become a major force in averting cyber attacks.
  2. Use Technology: since cyber threats have become more prevalent due to advancement and proliferation of technology, it is only sensible that the same technological tools are used to fight against it. First step in this direction is to institute Two Factor Authentication system which is also known as 2FA, to access enterprise resources. The first factor is generally the password generated by the user while second factor is delivered through electronic means such as text message or email. In certain cases, you may choose to use biometrics as second measures. Such biometrics may take form of finger print or retina scanning.
  3. Healthy Online Habits: in order to ensure that your employees are following the guidelines, it may be important to set up certain filters. These web filtering tools may restrict access to specific websites or URLs. Further, these filters may also help in managing the links opened by the employees. However, the first step in this direction should be to educate the employees about safe practices. They should be counseled to not click on unknown links sent through emails or texts. The employees should be advised to limit their web surfing to safe sites only as many dodgy websites are known to implant virus on computers which may sabotage the entire corporate network.
  4. Make Passwords Stronger: employees should be educated about the importance of stronger passwords. The passwords are required to be not just long but also complex to provide appropriate kind of security. Ideally, it should be a combination of letters, numbers and special symbols. Further, the passwords must also be changed frequently. Employees should be advised not to share their password with anyone within or without the organization. It should also be noted that unique passwords should be created for different services and not repeated.
  5. Install Updates: in cyber world, threats arise on daily basis. In order to provide protection against them, most of the apps and websites push constant updates. It is highly important that all such updates including security patches should be installed on regular basis. Keeping the apps and programs updated ensures that you have reasonable security against various cyber threats. Proper attention should also be paid to updating default privacy settings. All the devices and accounts used in a firm should undergo this exercise.
  6. Make Cyber Security Practices a Habit: while organizations may institute various policies to ensure cyber security, it is equally important to ensure that these policies are followed by the employees in a prompt and regular manner. Employees should be aware that they do not leave sensitive information lying around. Further, this type of information should be shared with only concerned people and not everyone else. Organizations should carry out periodic checks to see that the policies are being implemented. The employees should also be educated about such practices on regular basis.

As most of the businesses now have online presence, it is important to ensure that your business as well as your clients are secure against online threats. By following some simple rules, you can have a blanket of safety against cyber attacks and keep your data safe from such threats.

Five Tips to Secure Your Online Transactions

Five Tips to Secure Your Online Transactions

Digitalization in businesses has transformed the way consumers shop. With digital transactions taking over paper money, cyber-attacks are on the rise owing to the sloppy online shopping habits of buyers. As a result, the need to protect your personal information becomes critical and inevitable.

Although, online transactions come with a risk, there are certain tips that can help you secure them and keep cyber vulnerabilities at bay.

A Secure Connection

If you are initiating a payment online, look for a padlock icon beside the website address. HTTPS only guarantees a basic level of internet security, while HTTP is completely insecure. If the website address features HTTPS with the padlock icon beside it, the website is secure.

Authentic shopping sites redirect you to an encrypted version of the payment page. To validate this, look for logos such as VeriSign. Clicking on the logo will give you additional information regarding how secure the website is. Besides, always keep your internet browser updated. The best alternative is to shop through the official merchant apps that can be downloaded from Apple Store or Google Play.

Know Where to Shop and Where Not to

While it’s mostly safe to shop from a private and encrypted home connection, open and public Wi-Fis are unsafe. It’s wise not to use public Wi-Fi for shopping. And, if at all you transact using public Wi-Fi, change your password immediately from a safe network.

Keep Track of Your Transactions

Keep a record of all the internet transactions you make, and examine the bank statements and credit card bills on a regular basis to verify your transactions. Doing it regularly can help you track wrong or unusual transactions easily. If you find anything suspicious, block your card and notify the bank immediately.

Use Your Accounts Wisely

Do not keep any birth dates or wedding dates as password for your bank accounts. When people resort to social media to showcase their lifestyle, it’s easy to extract their personal information from apps and websites. Try not to disclose such information in social media. Keep the social media details to a minimum to avoid being a victim of hacking and phishing.

While using passwords for bank accounts, use strong and hard-to-guess ones. A two-factor authentication would be ideal for a secure online payment. With that, you will receive a one-time pin to authenticate your transaction. If you use another computer to shop online or if you access your computer from a public network, change your password immediately. If you are using another computer, do not allow the browser to remember your passwords. Be extra observant by clearing the cache, cookies, and history after use. Once you complete a transaction, log out of the bank/merchant website. Also, do not store your account information anywhere on your computer.

Use Firewalls and Anti-Virus Programs

Safeguard your computer with a good antivirus program and update it regularly. This will ensure that you are safeguarded against new hacks and scams. Also, have the firewall turned on to prevent unauthorized access to your computer.

The aforementioned tips can help prevent the sneaky cyber thieves from acquiring access to your important financial and personal data. As a final tip, change your online passwords on a regular basis.

Top Five Online Payment Trends to Look Out For in 2019

Top Five Online Payment Trends to Look Out For in 2019

As e-commerce continues to grow, the robustness and security of online payment systems becomes an important concern. More and more people are now buying products and services online, exposing their highly sensitive data. In order to provide a secure and efficient experience to online buyers, it is important to look at the following online payment trends.

  • Mobile Payments Reign: As mobile shopping trumped browser-based shopping, it seems like the same thing is going to happen in the case of online payment segment as well. As more and more people are using mobiles for their shopping and internet browsing, payments from mobile phones are increasingly becoming the norm. Consequently, there is also an increase in mobile payment scams as evidenced by the proliferation of mobile phishing sites. It has become imperative for online payment system providers to be aware of this trend and take remedial measures accordingly.
  • Massive Data Breaches Become Commonplace: The use of Artificial Intelligence and bots makes it easier for hackers to undertake massive data breaches. Stealing information from a large number of accounts simultaneously is highly lucrative for criminals and they are using increasingly sophisticated technologies to undertake such attacks. In order to protect the users, it is important for the websites and payment gateway providers to ensure that their information is safeguarded appropriately. For this purpose, they may go for security audits, Blackbox practices, and social engineering.
  • Apps Go Rogue: As mobile internet grows, so do the mobile apps. Hackers are now increasingly focusing on these apps to steal data and financial credentials. It is believed that there is surge in the number of rogue mobile apps which are designed with the sole purpose of stealing data. App stores have yet to wake up to the threat of such malicious apps. However, lately there has been a spurt in the number of apps getting banned or kicked out of app stores for containing malicious codes.
  • ATOs Proliferate: Account takeovers are becoming common in online payment systems. Account takeover is a type of data theft where a hacker uses bots for gaining illegal access to a victim’s online payment account. Such compromised accounts may then be used for theft or for unauthorized purchases. As technologies improve further, it is expected that such ATO attacks will become more commonplace and more sophisticated at the same time.
  • Focus on Behavioral Biometrics: To provide a secure online payment experience, the providers mainly rely upon their authentication systems. In order to keep up with the emerging trends, it is important for the providers to incorporate new changes in their authentication process. One such emerging trend is to use behavioral biometrics for identifying potentially risky accounts. Any sudden change in behavioral biometrics of an account may also indicate that the account may have been compromised. In such cases, swift remedial actions may be undertaken.

Overall, it is safe to assume that service providers are becoming increasingly aware of online payment security threats. Analysis of emerging trends allows them to design new policies to effectively counter such threats.