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Posts Tagged ‘e-commerce’

Security Alerts

Author: Antony Savvas, Computer weekly.com
Posted: 31 Jan 2008

Internet banking authentication systems including two-factor security systems are being threatened by a new Trojan.

The new Trojan, spotted in various forms in recent weeks, poses a potentially serious threat to most authentication systems being rolled out by banks to protect their electronic customers.

“Most of the banks’ two-factor authentication systems centre around the use of a customer-supplied password, plus a unique, one-time code generated by an electronic token such as a SecurID unit or a user’s mobile phone,” said Geoff Sweeney, CTO at security behavioural analysis firm Tier-3.

“This new Trojan, called Silentbanker, allows hackers intermediary access to the information stream from the user, allowing them to create a man in the middle type attack during an e-banking session.

fforded to users by the two-factor authentication technology,” he said.

Sweeney said updated security software should spot the Trojan, but he added that modified versions of the threat could potentially evade established security systems.

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By AMANDA FEHD, Associated Press Writer 

SAN FRANCISCO – EBay Inc. said Tuesday it will cut by up to 50 percent the fees it charges sellers to list their goods online, in an effort to boost listings and keep pace with other burgeoning e-commerce sites.

To balance the fee cut, the company plans to increase its commission on items that do sell, a method the company says sellers prefer because it lowers their risk if items do not sell.

The greatest fee increase will come for goods selling for less than $25. EBay‘s fee for those transactions will rise 67 percent, to 8.75 percent of the final sale price.

“A majority of sellers will see their fees go down,” said company spokesman Usher Lieberman. “We are basing our success on their success and we want to encourage sellers to list more items with us.”

The new fee structure, announced to a gathering of 200 of eBay’s top North American sellers in Washington, goes into effect Feb. 20 in the United States. More pricing changes are coming shortly in the United Kingdom and Germany.

EBay has struggled with flattening growth in recent years and a temporary drop in the number of items for sale on its site.

Listings on eBay’s various sites in the fourth quarter rose 4 percent, reversing two straight quarters of declines, the company reported last week. The number of people actively using the site has also stagnated, rising just 2 percent from a year ago.

The online auctioneer has faced increasing competition from other e-commerce sites such as Amazon.com, which does not charge a listing fee.

EBay’s various fees have long been a point of contention for its sellers, which range from mom-and-pop vendors to online stores with large inventories.

The changes come as longtime chief executive Meg Whitman announced she would retire at the end of March. Incoming CEO John Donahoe, president of eBay Marketplaces, which encompasses its shopping sites and classifieds, has said he will aggressively change eBay’s product, customer approach and business model.

Along with changes to the fee structure, eBay said it will change how sellers show up on customer searches. Those with high rates of customer dissatisfaction will get lower exposure in a search, the company said.

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By Nicole Maestri and Martinne Geller 2 hours, 50 minutes ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Virtual worlds, mobile coupons and bar-code readers on cell phones are the next technology wave that U.S. chain stores must ride if they hope to stay competitive in the fast-changing world of global retail.

Retailers, gathered in New York this week for the National Retail Federation‘s (NRF) annual convention, were urged to go high-tech to stand out in the crowd and improve sales, especially amid a flagging U.S. economy.

“The cell phone is shifting the way consumers shop, and U.S. retailers need to get ready,” said Pat Conroy, vice chairman at Deloitte & Touche USA, in a keynote speech at the convention.

Wendy Liebmann, chief executive of consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail, points to prom dress shoppers who take pictures of themselves with their cell phone cameras, then post the photos online so friends can help pick which outfit to buy.

The Internet has also become more interactive, with consumers spending more time — and money — in virtual worlds like Second Life and Webkinz.

“These technologies are going to change the way you interact with your customer, they’re going to change the way people shop, they’re going to change the way you manage your brands,” said Giff Constable, general manager at Electric Sheep Co, which designs content for virtual worlds, like Second Life.

RETAILERS RESPOND

U.S. retailers need to adopt technological advances that have already changed shopper behavior across the globe, Conroy said.

For instance, he noted that customers at McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) restaurants in South Korea can purchase food on cell phones, which then ring when their orders are ready.

In China, mobile commerce is expected to reach $1 trillion in 2010, while in Japan, cell phones have bar-code scanners so consumers can check the freshness of food with their phones.

“Asia’s leading the way,” he said, but changes are also taking place in the U.S. market.

“The lines between merchandiser and technologist are certainly blurring,” said Philip Schoonover, chief executive of consumer electronics retailer Circuit City Stores Inc (CC.N), where store and call center staff use tablet PCs to search the Web alongside consumers.

Constable said corporations are putting big bucks into virtual worlds — three-dimensional parallel universes on the Internet — where users typically create and dress up characters, buy goods and interact with others.

Last year, Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) purchased kids’ virtual world Club Penguin for $350 million in cash plus up to $350 million more, depending on the Web site’s earnings in 2008 and 2009.

While some retailers have started building stores in these virtual worlds, others should consider doing the same, Constable said, to extend their brands and eventually, boost sales.

PROGRESS FOR A PRICE

But a pervasive undercurrent at the convention was worry over the state of the U.S. economy, and what that will mean for profits.

The NRF forecasts U.S. retail sales will rise 3.5 percent this year, the lowest rate of growth since 2002.

So while new technologies are appealing, there is little room in the budget for them.

At a panel discussion, the chief information officers of Michaels Stores and Circuit City said most of their technology budgets have been eaten up by maintaining day-to-day operations — like paying the power bills.

Retailers said their top technology initiatives for 2008 were to replace or upgrade their merchandising and inventory management systems, according to a survey by International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) and the NRF Foundation. No. 2 was replacing cash registers.

Though keeping costs down is key this year, retailers such as Bon-Ton Stores Inc (BONT.O) recognize the importance of upgrades, and are still spending despite the rocky economy.

“Return on investment on some of the technology … out there, that we’re thinking that we need, is absolutely crucial for us to take the next step,” said Edward Carroll, a Bon-Ton vice president of sales promotion and marketing.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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By ANICK JESDANUN, AP Internet Writer 

NEW YORK – Privacy concerns stemming from online shopping rose in 2007, a new study finds, as the loss or theft of credit card information and other personal data soared to unprecedented levels.

Sixty-one percent of adult Americans said they were very or extremely concerned about the privacy of personal information when buying online, an increase from 47 percent in 2006. Before last year, that figure had largely been dropping since 2001.People who do not shop online tend to be more worried, as are newer Internet users, regardless of whether they buy things on the Internet, according to the survey from the University of Southern California’s Center for the Digital Future.

The study, to be released Thursday, comes as privacy and security groups report that an increasing number of personal records are being compromised because of data breaches at online retailers, banks, government agencies and corporations.

The Identity Theft Resource Center, for instance, listed more than 125 million records reported compromised in the United States last year. That’s a sixfold increase from the nearly 20 million records reported in 2006.

Data breaches often result from lost or stolen computer equipment such as laptops, though the single largest breach was a case of online hacking. Early last year, TJX Cos. disclosed that a data theft had exposed tens of millions of credit and debit cards to potential fraud.

The card numbers were typically collected during brick-and-mortar retail transactions at T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and other TJX chains. The breach is believed to have started when hackers intercepted wireless transfers of customer information at two Marshalls stores in Miami — an entry point that led the hackers to eventually break into TJX’s central databases.

Nonetheless, concerns about credit card security have largely stabilized, with 57 percent very or extremely concerned last year. It was 53 percent in 2006, a difference within the survey’s margin of sampling error of 3 percentage points in either direction.

As of 2007, two-thirds of adult Internet users shop online, compared with just half a year earlier. Most spend $100 or less a month, and two-thirds of online shoppers have reduced buying at brick-and-mortar stores.

“You’d think the logical attitude would be to look at this level of concern and say I’m not going to shop on the Web, but it’s not happening,” said Jeff Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future. “The advantages, the conveniences are so extraordinary.”

With credit card fraud, a customer’s liability is capped at $50, and even that amount is often waived. Customers often know of fraudulent charges quickly if they check their accounts online or are notified by their banks, which have security measures in place to flag suspicious transactions.

Identity theft, on the other hand, can take months and sometimes years to find out about and resolve, Cole said, possibly explaining the greater concern over privacy.

Among other findings in the annual survey, online parents are more likely than ever to withhold Internet use as punishment — 62 percent in 2007, compared with 47 percent a year earlier and 32 percent in 2000. For the first time, denying Internet access is on par with banning television for bad behavior.

“What we’ve seen over those seven years is parents really now seeing that the Internet has lots of great stuff on it and can be really important, but also can be a time waster,” Cole said. “They view it much closer to the way they see television.”

Nearly two-thirds of parents, meanwhile, worry about kids participating in online communities and about half believe online predators to be a threat, notwithstanding other research showing fewer youths receiving sexual solicitations over the Internet as they become smarter about where they hang out and with whom they communicate online.

“The perception is higher than reality, but the perception is significant and leads to how much access you give your kids and whether you let them (surf) unsupervised,” Cole said.

Internet penetration continues to show signs of plateauing. The percentage of former users who say they have no intention of going back online continues to increase, and less than half of those who have never used the Internet plan to log on in the coming year.

Newer users are more likely than veterans to access the Internet through a dial-up connection, and newer users tend to spend an average of 1.2 hours a week more than veterans playing online games. Veterans are more likely to read a newspaper or listen to the radio over the Internet.

Twenty-one percent of Internet users have stopped a newspaper or magazine subscription because they could get it online, while half of the Americans who read a print edition of the paper said they would miss it if it were to go away.

The study of 2,021 Americans was conducted Feb. 28 to Aug. 6, with participants selected randomly by telephone.

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By Anuradha Shukla
TMCnet Contributing Editor


Access Commerce announced Monday that it signed a significant new contract in December 2007 with SFR (NewsAlert), the French telecommunications operator.

SFR has picked Cameleon to configure commercial service offerings as part of a project to improve invoicing and product management systems. Cameleon will be used by multiple SFR sales channels including the company’s online store, call centers and in 750 SFR-branded retail outlets.
Jacques Soumeillan, president and CEO of Access Commerce, said in a statement that this important new customer win once again demonstrates the relevance, fit and strategic value that Cameleon provides to companies selling services, which represents a major growth opportunity for Access Commerce.
Soumeillan explained that by using Cameleon, their customers reduce time-to-market for new products and make it easier to sell them through any sales channel—field sales reps, call centers, retail stores, distributors or customer self-service.
According to Access Commerce, this contract with SFR comes on top of the previously reported 19 percent growth in the Cameleon business during the first three quarters of 2007. The company believes this deal has the potential to produce significant additional revenue for Access Commerce in the coming years.
SFR is a first tier operator owned by Vivendi and Vodafone (NewsAlert), with more than 18 million customers and revenue of 8.6 billion Euros ($12.4 billion dollars) in 2006.
Access Commerce is an international provider of E-Commerce and Configurator software. The company’s Cameleon Commerce Suite helps enterprises sell products and services through multiple sales channels and provides a common point of order capture across the enterprise.
The product suite optimizes complex selling and ordering processes by orchestrating core business functions that include e-commerce, electronic catalog and guided selling, product and service configuration, advanced pricing and promotions, quote and proposal generation, and order management.

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