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Privacy Security And Cyber Crime Information Technology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Technology
Wordcount: 5426 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Cybercrime is both a commotion that makes use of computing and communication technologies as tools to carry out a crime and a significant reason discouraging consumers from shopping online. It is recognized as a form of risk which leads to uncertainty and vulnerability factors and develop negative influence on consumers approach towards e-commerce as it generates risk and worries the misuse of the consumers finances and identity(Page and Lepkowska-White, 2002).

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As seen above India have grown extremely in the world by the constructive use of information technology. But at the same time, according to a U.S.-based Internet Crime Complaint Center(a partnership between Federal Bureau of Investigation and National White Collar Crime Center), India ranks fifth in the world for cyber crime(Nanda, 2010). According to ‘The Norton Cybercrime Report – The Human Impact’ around 65% of internet users worldwide and 76% of Indian web users have been cybercrime victims, including virus attack, online data and credit fraud and identity theft problems(Kumar, 2010)(Mukherjee, 2010).

The e-marketers must always remember that Information technology and internet is a double edge sword as it can be a blessing when used constructively and curse when used destructively.

Fraud has always been a frequent and a major problem in Indian e-commerce for several years. Low computer literacy and unawareness about the fraud methods and traps many people in India easily fall prey to cyber attackers. This results negativity not only for the company but also put off potential consumers (Dayal, Landesberg and Zeisser, 1999).

Data manipulation or man-in-middle attack, Confidence trick, and unauthorised access are some types of fraud that Indian consumers face. These frauds usually happens due to untrustworthy security, hacking, copying and modifying the details and thus carry out transaction with e-vendors or to transfer money to other accounts.

Identity theft

The main ways of identity theft are (i) hacking – illegal technique to access and steal information by adding vulnerability in security systems; (ii) Pharming – redirecting consumers to fake e-commerce sites and thus getting access to personal and private data resided in computers and networking devices; (iii) Malware – used to access and steal information of the consumers, and it is most sophisticated as it usually used along phishing attacks(Saunders and Zucker, 1999).


Phishing is a theft online, that is a combination of social engineering and technical techniques that aims to steal sensitive details and data such as online banking passwords and credit card information from users. Phishing scams have been on rise and are receiving widespread press coverage not only in Inda but throughout the world(Kirda and Kruegel, 2005). Phishing messages usually mislead the user to unsafe and no trust sites, that allows the exploiters greater flexibility to steal the personal information (Wu, Miller and Garfinkel, 2006).


Spam is an act of tremendously sending unwanted messages to online consumers in order to endorse products or services and carry out phishing or virus attack to harm their computers with malware(Burns, 2006). It is an issue to worry as it can be sent in various forms like e-mails, instant messages, short message service (SMS), messages via Internet Relay Chat (IRC)hich. The combination of phishing, spam, and malware problems further deject consumers from purchasing online.

Privacy and Security

The lack of confidence among public in online information technology (IT) is not simply about low awareness and interst, but also because of trust in the information society. Privacy and security concerns are the biggest reason Web users are not purchasing over Web. After we have discussed the scope and growth of E- commerce and also the barriers and issues reducing its speed, we can further state privacy and security as the main tools that derives the growth of business-to-consumers e-commerce. Proper encouragement and best possible use of security and privacy leads to create trust among the consumers. Both privacy and security are misunderstood as two different concepts in the e-commerce. E-marketer usually confuse by taking them as two different issues and further discuss about which feature will reduce the fear among consumers to the maximum and how to place and convey these features through websites(Dayal et al., 1999). Further we have discussed them as two main distinct issues that helps consumers to decide to buy online or not.


Privacy issues have been a reason for the consumers to worry for years, as how private and personal information are used by the government and, further in recent times, by businesses. Their concern and action have led to the passing of a range of privacy protection laws. The consumer privacy issue is a very important agenda for the ecommerce, as the amount of persons accessing the Internet’s information resources are growing exponentially and the public becomes more aware about the technology(Reda, 1996).

The ability to control the access and utilisation of personal and private information over the internet is determined as privacy. Consumers develop negative attitude towards the websites that ask for information and thus develop hesitation towards web-site shopping. Thus to gather and share personal and private information by placing cookies in personal computers and further communicating consumers or using the information reduces the credibility of web-site and thus reduces trust(Miyazaki and Fernandez , 2001).

Consumers concerns regarding privacy of information over Internet needs to be fully addressed for the e-commerce to grow further. This can be seen though a Harris poll in Business week among 999 consumers, which clearly showed that privacy is the main issue that has been keeping people away from shopping online(Green et al., 1998). A further study by Forrester Research(US) showed that among the respondents about two third of them are worried about protecting their private and personal information online. The main privacy issues are related to identity theft, phishing, spam, tracking usage, collection of data and information sharing with third parties(Udo, 2001). Internet users want to protect their privacy and thus experts sturdily support the idea of government involvement, and thus offering consumers various privacy preferences over the conformation and personal data use. A user must realise that it is partly their responsibility to maintain the privacy so as to avoid identity theft and thus take certain precautions, look for a websites privacy statements. The websites that are sensitive to fraud and cybercrime, should have their privacy policies displayed in a clear way and thus also offer user a choice to restrict the use of their information and state declaration regarding it.

Countries like India and China makes approximately one third of world’s population and above statistics clearly shows how these nations are emerging as future ecommerce markets. As e-commerce is new in these countries there is an instability in the government and legal policies. International policies and agreement regarding financial, legal and market access issues are needed to regulate e-commerce. The major problem many countries and business face on Internet is privacy and security. Privacy without a doubt is one of the biggest concerns as it can weaken or reduce personal privacy (Simpson, 2000). Many business have opposed this privacy issue from a long time, but the changing attitude and need of consumers to safeguard personal information has made the business to rethink about it. The information collected, processed and stored is reused and unfortunately has become cyberspace currency(Markoff, 1999)(Javalgi and Ramsey, 2001).

Thus in developing country India the privacy and security law need to be enhanced for the e-commerce to strengthen and grow with strong base for the future. For consumers the reassurance of the restriction and limit of use of information and personal data subject to essence of privacy on the Internet(Belanger, et al., 2002). This control is concerned with the trust of providing information on the website by the user as it can be managed by them. Thus privacy issue are very essential to be looked on as it determines the user confidence and thus motivates them to buy from trustworthy websites.


Indian security system have been facing many security issues and these are not new for the country. In the year 1998, two hacker groups GForce Pakistan and Pakistani Hackerz Club, based in Pakistan attacked websites of two majot Indian news channel i.e. Zee News and India Today and left threatening messages to stop the nuclear test in Pokhran(Nanda, 2010). This created a fury among people and government and also raised an alarm for the security systems.

Security breach or threat can be stated as a potential circumstance or event that can harm the data or network resources functionally and economically. This harm leads to disclosure and alteration of information, damage , denial and thus altogether act as fraud which results into abuse and threat(Kalakota and Whinston, 1996). Unauthorised access using false authentication and data or network transaction attacks are the main means of security breach and threats. Thus it becomes essential for the websites to safeguard and value consumer information so as to make the online transactions safe and pleasant.

For consumers security is important as they are providing very personal and private information over the website to conclude the online purchases. For a consumer; damage and theft of privacy(personal and private information) leads to economic sufferings; and authentication issues which deals with the proper legislation of website being real and safe. Security over a website should be very essential and customers information and transaction safety and security should be recognised by the e-vendors. In business-to-consumer e-commerce, technologies used to safeguard and secure customer data and information determine security; and also deal with business technology security like encryption and validation(Belanger, et al., 2002).

Indian Cyber security has many loopholes and gaps that encourage cyber criminal to carry out the crime and benefit from it. Financial and identity theft are on high in Indian subcontinent as most of it remains undetected and once detected are hardly reported. People must understand that awareness and to act against this beginning of crime is very essential to safeguard the future and they must take basic and simple strides to eliminate the dilemma such as to have up-to-date and reliable security protection software at place, as this initiation will ultimately decide the future security development and thus develop safe and secure environment for e-commerce(Mukherjee, 2010).

Thus e-vendors must understand that the online security deals with three main aspects of , (i) confidentially – no access by unauthorised parties; (ii) reliability- no modification of information supplied and (iii) authentication – no imitation of individual through information or data use. Altogether the description of security refers to the control to consumers apprehension of sharing information and data over internet due to security threats(Ganguly, et al., 2009). Research have shown that websites offering higher and reliable security have more trust among the consumers(Chellapa, 2005)(Chen and Barns, 2007). Thus security is very essential and integral part of a web-site in all aspects of businesses.

Privacy and security statements and third party verification

With security and privacy being the main issues that is demotivating consumers to buy goods online, it has become essential for web merchants to commit privacy and security over the web sites. This can be done through making visible the more or less comprehensible privacy and security policies of web merchants over the website. Thus in developing nations like India, these statements and policies should clearly explain the process of information collection and sharing; and security features like authentication, reliability and protection.

Today groups such as TRUSTe and BBBOnLine recommend programs which motivates commitment to privacy or security of the business participating to the consumers. TRUSTe clearly states to the consumers that when they see TRUSTe seal, consumers can be guaranteed to have total control over the use their personal and private information, and thus safeguard consumers privacy and offer security to them(Belanger, et al., 2002). Many businesses are joining such programs as this allows them to communicate privacy and security(e.g.VERISIGN) to consumers by posting third-party privacy seal on their website.

A study conducted for Privacy and American business clearly showed 62% of participants feel that third party intervention would reduce the privacy and security concerns. 91% of participants said that they would be more comfortable in using sites with security and privacy seals and 84% said that these are very essential for electronic business. Another report clearly showed that 60% of consumers feels confident to shop online over the websites that have security and privacy seals(Belanger, et al., 2002).

Studies have been done to support security and privacy as the two main factors that develops confidence and thus trust among the consumers to buy online(Miyazaki and Fernandez, 2000).. But adding upto the fact of this relationship, it has been seen that consumers not only in developing nation like India but also in many developed nation are less aware about the security and privacy seals(McKnight and Chervany, 2002). Many researches have showed that website privacy and security are the antecedent to trust(Chellapa, 2005). Thus it has became important to not only study the relative importance of these factors but also to study the importance of security and privacy. Most of security featured and privacy features need to be explained and understood independently as for the consumers these are the primary features that would develop a sense of trust in E-commerce.


In the recent investigations many marketers found that web interface/design plays a more prominent role in today’s e-commerce scenario(Cyr, et al., 2006)(Marcus and Gould, 2000)(Cyr and Trevor-Smith, 2004) The website design plays a very important role in satisfying the consumers. Website must offer convenience, ease of use and personalization facilities and thus make the experience pleasant and safe (Lohse and Spiller, 1998). Studies indicate that convenience and website appearance attributes affects online shopping actions of the consumers (Sacharow , 1998) .Website features and design helps to increase motivation and thus trust among the consumers.

Website Information Design

The way and organisation in which information is put on website/webpage has be relevant as it develops reliability and goodwill to the consumers and develops trust among consumers(Ranganathan and Ganapathy, 2002)(Mithas., et al., 2007). The layout and location of the information on the website is necessary.

When a marketing executive deals with these stages he needs to modify and develop the e-commerce experience for the consumers so that they can adopt the new method of E-transaction. To develop interest of the consumers in e-commerce service companies need to develop a Online Value Proposition for online sites, for which they typically look on following 6C’s which clearly describes the way to value the customer(Chaffey, 2009).

Content – Detailed and in-depth information about the product supports the buying process and encourages customers to buy goods online

Customization – Mass customization of product content, either received as web pages or alerts through email, commonly described as personilisation.

Community – Forums. Chat rooms, blogs etc helps the consumers to discuss almost anything.

Convenience – the convenience of 24 x 7 x 365 availibilty of a service to search, select and buy goods online from you personal computer motivates e-commerce. Also offline advertising act a tool fot the same.

Choice – with the easy and widespread reach of internet, it provides us with many choices of products and suppliers. For e.g. Tesco.com provides more detailed information about some products which are physically available in the store

Cost Reduction – As internet is perceived globally, it is relatively inexpensive than the physical stores. Customers often expect to get a good deal online and this motivates them to shop online.

These factors helps the marketing executives to further enhance the online experience for the customer and thus this online value proposition helps the company in offering privacy, security and convenience to the consumers.

Website Navigation Design

Even if e-vendors post detailed and reliable information on website, consumers feels demotivated if it is difficult to browse the website(Cyr, 2008). Proper navigation offers ease and reliability and thus trust to the consumers by saving time and to avoid financial and performance risks.(Harridge-March, 2006)

Website Visual Design

The visual beauty of the webpage/website, like graphics, colours, logos, photographs, fonts help to attract and the consumers. Security and privacy logos, culture, content, copyrights are the main factors of visual appearance of website. The visual beauty is directly proportional to trust.(Karvonen, 2000)(Cyr, 2008). In India many people use the website and trust them due to their goodwill and also the signs and logos which assure security for the consumers.

Website enabled Communication

Direct communication with e-vendor offers more reliability and help to develop benevolence among consumers.there is an ease for consumers and also feedback received helps as a tool for development for e-vendor. Thus website communication helps to resolve disputes and offer more precise services to the consumers and thus develops trust(Mukherjee and Nath, 2003)

Marketers must remember that with innovations coming in, more and more consumers would involve in e-commerce transactions. With privacy and security becoming more important for the consumers, marketer must look on these factors carefully to avoid failure in e-commerce transaction and thus resulting into distrust (Ratnasingam, 2005). Along with ease in use and convenience, proper display of security and privacy statements and logos will develop reliability, integrity and thus result into benevolence among consumers.

Trust and trustworthiness

When a consumer buy goods, the buying decision is partly influenced and concluded by their level of trust on the product(item for consumption), vendor or/and the company(Hosmer, 1995). This trust developed helps to develop an attitude for the product and company by the consumer.

Similarly, decision of internet shopping are not only influenced by the trust between the e-vendor(merchant) and the consumer, but also between the consumer and the computer systems with the help of which these transactions are executed(Lee and Turban, 2001). Thus the privacy and security issues which we have discussed above make an essential part of these transaction and are quite essential to develop a pleasant and positive e-commerce transaction, which ultimately develops trust among the consumers.

Simmelian Model of Trust

Simmelian Model of Trust was named after the contribution of Simmel’s research on trust and its importance(Möllering, 2001). This theory clearly explains that trust is a three step process. These steps are (i)interpretation; (ii) suspension and (iii) expectation.

Simmelian Model of Trust

Interpretation (i.e. based on knowledge)

Suspension (i.e. to ignore uncertainty)

Expectation (i.e. either trust or distrust)

Interpretation indicates the stage where an individual perceives something. During this interpretation an individual sometimes interprets a certain concept or idea into something else, as per their knowledge. However in reality no one is able to understand and know everything consequently (Yagi, 2006). Even if a person tries to gather more information to interpret more precisely, there is a limit to collect information due to time and resource constraints(Gefen, et al., 2003). Thus we cannot ignore that interpretation includes uncertainty, but the level of uncertainty depends on the knowledge of the person.

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In transactional relationships a person need to ignore the uncertainty in the interpretation(Klang, 2001), and this suspension occurs as a person has a limit of information and knowledge that one can perceive(Siyal and Barkat, 2001). Thus after ignoring uncertainty, the interpretation and suspension becomes valid; and thus reaches the next stage of expectation, where it results to trust or distrust(Möllering, 2001)

In this research the idea of uncertainty will support the knowledge of the e-consumers about the privacy and security signs, statements, web interface, different aspects and signs of safety and reliability on the website; and how their knowledge helps them to interpret the reliability and integrity of the website. This will help to reach the level of suspension where a consumer as per their knowledge, will decide if it is safe and reliable to carry out transaction with a particular website. These two stages will help to motivate the consumers to purchase online and thus the output of the transaction will help the company to develop benevolence among the consumers and thus develop trust in the consumers.

Thus we can say that trust is a process that starts with interpretation and ends with expectation; and suspension is the factor that helps to fill the gap of uncertainty. For developing trust, an e-marketer have to take care of the consumers privacy, security, safety and thus develop a pleasant and secure e-commerce environment.

Like to further understand the implication of idea trust proposed by Simmelian, we can look at the figure and see that how a consumer interprets a lock sign as the safety and security symbol even though they are not sure or do not understand the (terms and conditions) code. This leads to uncertainty due to the consumer’s knowledge and thus they assume that lock sign means security. This is the suspension process. This interpretation and suspension will make the consumer believe that their interpretation is correct and thus expect that the decision is right and thus develop trust.

E-trust is measured as one of the most significant fundamentals for the success of e-commerce.as we have seen, online transaction involve the stage of uncertainity and thus making risk and trust two main elements in e-commerce (Grabner-Krauter and Kaluscha, 2003). With the growing opportunities and scope of e-commerce in India, marketers must not only think to develop new business in e-commerce, but also must take care of various elements that generates trust among consumers, which will further lead to increase in e-commerce. E-marketers have realised the importance of trust in e-commerce transactions, which helps the consumer to overcome uncertainity and get ahead to suspension and thus lead to final expectation(Eastlick, et al., 2006; Mukherjee and Nath, 2007; Pang, et al., 2007; 

Trust helps to build relationship and loyalty with the consumers and thus helps to create goodwill among consumers. Satisfaction is also a very important component that is related to trust(Sirdeshmukh et al., 2002; Sahadev and Purani, 2008). Consistent satisfaction of transactions, helps to develop long-term relationship and trust among consumers(Hess and Story, 2005). Thus relationship and satisfaction are the two important components of e-commerce that helps to develop reliability, intergrity and benevolence over time. These trustworthiness factors are necessary for developing trust and relationship among consumers to help the business grow , with returning and new consumers(Wong and Sohal, 2006)(Chung and Shin, 2010).


The reliable, honest or dependable value of something or someone which is perceived by the trustor is called trustworthiness. Many studies have identified the critical role of trust by consumer in e-commerce, but two significant issues are found to hold back the practical investigations(outcomes) of the impact of online shopping trust among consumers. One issue is the lack of conformity about definition of consumer trust in e-commerce(Lee and Turban, 2001), where many few definitions take into consideration the e-vendors and consumer trust and most of them concentrated on individual notion like risk taking, willingness and operationalization(Moorman, et al., 1993). Second issue is the need to give more attention to one vital antecedent of consumer trust i.e. ‘perceived trustworthiness’; which is constituted of three main elements – (i) ability(facility), (ii) integrity(reliability) and (iii) benevolence(Mayer et al.,1995)(Lee and Turban, 2001). These elements are very essential for the positive outcome of e-transaction; as merchants ability is reflected in the way ecommerce transaction are handles; integrity reflects e-vendors honesty and authenticity; and benevolence is developing a goodwill among the consumers about the website and company.

Internet is a virtual(practical) and global channel for buying and selling goods. But in e-commerce the seller is not physically present and thus it develops a perception of uncertainty in the transaction (Chellapa (2005). Thus the gap between the buyer and seller, no sales person and no physical contact makes the perceived risk high in e-commerce(Ganguly, et al., 2009). As we discussed above that the consumer shops online only when they trust an e-vendor. The consumers intention to purchase online increases only when the e-vendor is able to evoke trust in the transaction. Several studies have proved that trust is the main factor that motivates consumers to reduce perceived risk and shop online. Bhattacherjee (2002), Dash and Saji (2007), Gefen et al (2003), Gefen and Straub (2003), Salam et al (2005).

Hardin (2002) states that trustworthiness is the antecedent of trust. Many studies and researches Ang & Lee(2000); Belanger, et al.(2002); Corritore, et al.(2003) have agreed that it possible to establish trust by one party only when it demonstrates trustworthiness. A trustor cannot ask for trust, but it can be received(Jones, 2002). Vendors having high trustworthiness will have a positive impact on consumers and will help them to develop more trust among the trustors. Thus to develop trust it is necessary to develop trustworthiness, as it not only motivates trust but also help to sustain trust(Mutz,2005).

For understanding it more precisely, in the figure above a consumer has options to buy from two websites. In the first website, he notices that there is a digital certificate verified by a well-known third party, and where as in second website there is a digital certificate of an unknown third party. The security signs and statements on the first website helps the consumer to perceive that the website is more secure and safe than the second one and thus this motivates(offers trustworthiness) the consumer to buy from the first website. Thus the security and privacy statement on the website helps to develop trust.

In this research, trustworthiness is defined as the perception of assurance in the electronic marketer’s reliability and integrity. It is very essential for the e-vendors to offer privacy and security to the consumers and thus develop confidence among consumers. After the consumer feels safe and secure these factors act as the drivers of trustworthiness and thus develop trust among the consumers. Thus we can say that trustworthiness highlights the necessity for ecommerce/ e-vendors to act reliably , truthfully ans thus generate goodwill over a period of time . this also leads to develop relationship with the consumers and thus offer overall satisfaction to the consumer.


Losing customers in today’s competitive market can be very costly. Thus e-marketers have realised that to have customer retention and trustworthiness it is necessary to develop long-term mutual relationship with the consumers(Chung and Shin, 2010). E-marketers must realise that its not merely customer satisfaction that is necessary for business to grow but developing relationship with the consumers is the key to get and keep the valuable consumers.1 (Hess and Story, 2005)(Chung and Shin, 2010). Thus successful generation of trust and satisfaction will help to develop commitments between the consumers and the brand. As we have seen importance of privacy, security and web interface in E-commerce, these factors are also influenced by the local culture that is adapted by the consumers. We have also seen the importance of trustworthiness to motivate trust among consumers.After understanding the importance of trust alone, we also need to understand the concept of e-commerce relationship. E-commerce is a powerful tool to share business information, maintain relationships and also to carry out transaction by electronic means(Narayandas, et al., 2002).

Cyr, et al.,(2008) said, “A webite has to be designed for a targeted customer group.” The level of relationship will be high with the consumers when the website match their cultural attitudes, thus developing trust for the website. India belongs to a High-context Culture where the people are implicit and importance of trust is necessary to carry out business/transactions. Thus relationship trust is a subjective possibility which influence people and make them confident that the transaction will occur according to their expectations(Ratnasingam, 2005). Indian e-commerce is in its preliminary stage and the growth that the marketers are predicting is huge. But the recent attacks and threats on very important websites in India, developed a negative impact on the minds of people. People are afraid to shop online due to security fear. This creates doubt in the minds of the people regarding the reliability of the e-vendor , privacy and security issues. Thus to overcome these barriers and to and to further develop trust in Indian e-commerce, marketers need to focus on building positive e-commerce relationships with the consumers.(Mukherjee and Nath, 2007).

Trust plays a major role not only in India e-commerce relationships but also in global e-commerce, due to the presence of risks and uncertainities(Jarvenpaa, et al., 2000). With the rise in e-commerce, the need for trust and loyalty has also increased due to cyber crimes and fraud creating doubts in the mind of people. During online shopping these features play a vital role to overcome the perceived risks involved in online shopping. (Hahn and Kim, 2009)(Winch and Joyce, 2006)(Bart et al., 2005). Thus relationship building is very necessary in Indian e-commerce due to the business and social culture.

Relationship trust has three dimensions that motivates people to purchase goods and services from an e-vendor. Firstly competence trust, this helps to fulfil the need of skills and technological aspects of the e-vendor, that is essential for consumer’s reliability and integrity. Secondly, predictability trust is developed over a certain time period, which helps to develop reliability of the e-vendor(Sheppard and Sherman, 1998). And thirdly, the goodwill trust occurs when the consumer finally believes that the e-vendor is benevolent and truthful(Barney & Hansen, 1994)(Dyer & Chu, 2000) (Narayandas, et al., 2002).. Thus after the consumer expectations of reliability, integrity and benevolence are met, the trust motivates c


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