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Lesson 6Security software
ObjectiveDescribe the functions of security software.

Security Software

Security is a crucial concern for commercial Web sites. There is a wide variety of software-related approaches for the providing Web site security required by business needs. Security software protects the following:
  1. Web resources (for example, it deters vandalism of a site)
  2. Internal network resources (for example, Asteron's internal network)
  3. Users and customers (for example, customers in an e-commerce transaction)
Security is an entire field unto itself with a wide range of products from hardware and software providers. For non-specialists, these basic concepts are sufficient to allow them to understand the standard security software.
At a minimum, the following standard set of controls (interventions) should be considered for most sites:
  1. Secure transaction and encryption technologies
  2. Certificates
  3. Firewalls
  4. Secure email technologies
  5. Additional anti-attack software

Secure transaction and encryption technologies

Secure transactions protect both Web site operators and their users or customers. Most secure transaction software involves encryption, the transformation of data into a form that is unreadable without access to the proper decryption algorithm. Two secure transaction protocols that are used in e-commerce are:
  1. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
  2. Secure Electronic Transaction (SET)


A digital certificate is an electronic verification of the identity of an organization or individual. In e-commerce, digital certificates ensure the legitimacy of the vendor. Certificates are obtained from a recognized certificate authority that has approved an online vendor.


Software is only part of what constitutes a firewall (hardware and network configuration are also very important).
A firewall involves three elements: firewall software, network configuration, and appropriate hardware (usually a firewall resides on a dedicated server that separates the Web server from a company's internal network). All elements need to be combined appropriately for the firewall to be effective.

Secure email technologies

If a Web site application involves the use of email (for example, as part of a transaction or as confirmation of a transaction), you will want to ensure your email exchanges are as secure as possible. PGP and S/MIME are two encryption schemes that are used in business-to-business transactions.

Additional anti-attack software

While firewalls are designed to filter and prevent many kinds of attacks on a network, there are additional measures that provide additional security. Virus-scanning software and network-scanning software help detect and destroy viruses and other harmful attacks.
Question: What is a digital certificate?
Answer: A digital certificate is an electronic verification of the identity of an organization or individual through the validation services of a third party. In e-commerce, digital certificates are installed on commerce sites (via the server) to ensure the legitimacy of the vendor. The confidence associated with a certificate is similar to purchasing a new TV from a store versus from the back of a stranger's truck. Certificates address the buyer's need for stability by validating the legitimacy of the vendor as part of the certification process.
In the next lesson, you will learn more about specific examples and properties of bundled software solutions.