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Initially the Internet was designed to be used by government and academic users butnow it is rapidly becoming commercialized It has on-line shops evenelectronic shopping malls Customers browsing at their computers can viewproducts read descriptions and sometimes even try samples What they lack is the meansto buy from their keyboard on impulse They could pay by credit card transmitting thenecessary data by modem but intercepting messages on the Internet is trivially easy for asmart hacker so sending a credit-card number in an unscrambled message is invitingtrouble It would be relatively safe to send a credit card number encrypted with ahard-to-break code That would require either a general adoption across the internet ofstandard encoding protocols or the making of prior arrangements between buyers andsellers Both consumers and merchants could see a windfall if these problems are solvedFor merchants a secure and easily divisible supply of electronic money will motivate moreInternet surfers to become on-line shoppers Electronic money will also make it easier forsmaller businesses to achieve a level of automation already enjoyed by many largecorporations whose Electronic Data Interchange heritage means streams of electronic bitsnow flow instead of cash in back-end financial processes We need to resolve four keytechnology issues before consumers and merchants anoint electric money with the same realand perceived values as our tangible bills and coins These four key areas are SecurityAuthentication Anonymity and DivisibilityCommercial RD departments and university labs are developing measures to addresssecurity for both Internet and private-network transactions The venerable answer tosecuring sensitive information like credit-card numbers is to encrypt the data beforeyou send it out MITs Kerberos which is named after the three-headed watchdog ofGreek mythology is one of the best-known-private-key encryption technologies It createsan encrypted data packet called a ticket which securely identifies the user To make apurchase you generate the ticket during a series of coded messages you exchange with aKerberos server which sits between your computer system and the one you are communicatingwith These latter two
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