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Internet – Fight for Survival of E-Commerce

The Fight for Survival of E-Commerce

Abstract: How can e-businesses be successful in the new millennia? This paper looks at both the industry-wide and individual company trends that are developing, from what it takes to remain competitive, to public assurance in security.

It hasn’t been an easy year for e-commerce. With so many e-businesses failing, and just as many emerging, the key to survival has been the attraction and retention of customers. Different companies need different approaches, however, with one being the use of online coupons. At the same time, the industry is getting a better image as security is addressed – more specifically, the confidence of buying online with credit cards.

Creating and retaining a customer base on the Internet is not an easy task. Different companies need to have different approaches, depending on what their product is, and who their competitors are. To analyze these companies, we split them into type types – the niche competitor and the direct competitor.

The niche competitor is exactly what its name implies. These are the companies with a specific niche – their customer base comes from the fact that they offer a one-of-a-kind service. An example of this is the online auction site Ebay. Ebay provides a service that when first introduced, was non-existent on the Internet. Today, there is no other online auction site that even begins to rival Ebay in either its number of users and/or hits per day. Boasting over 10 million registered users as of December of 1999, Ebay had over 3 million items listed for sale in an excess of 3,000 categories that very same month [3]. PC Data Online, a service that rates websites by the amount of traffic received, placed Ebay 8th in their monthly Top 100. No other auction-oriented site appeared on the list [6]. For a niche competitor to be successful against similar niche competitors, however, it must offer both a good product and good advertisement. Ebay succeeded by saturating the market with advertisements early and quickly, and by providing an easy to use and attractive interface. Ebay’s early competitors did not do so well – while Ebay advertised on television, most did not, and most auction sites simply did not look as good as Ebay’s. Even today, Yahoo! Auctions pales in comparison to Ebay, aesthetically. Indeed, Ebay is both a well-tuned site and household name and thus has been able to fend off and retain customers from would-be competitors such as Yahoo! Auctions, and AuctioNet.

Internet – Tracing the Source of Denial of Service Attacks

Tracing the Source of Denial of Service Attacks

Abstract: Denial of service attacks are becoming increasingly prevalent and serious, yet the anonymity that these attacks affords the hacker provides no means for a victim to trace the attack. The weakness of the TCP/IP protocol allows for this anonymity, yet it would be very difficult to change this protocol. Savage, Wetherall, Karlin, and Anderson present a method for tracing back the source IP address and network path of denial of service attacks.

As the internet becomes increasingly vital to the everyday life of millions of people around the world, it also becomes increasingly vulnerable to hackers. Through forcing servers or web sites to shut down, hackers have the ability to affect almost every aspect of modern society; finances, safety, education, and many others. One common method used by hackers to maliciously affect these servers is the denial of service attack. Savage, Wetherall, Karlin, and Anderson define a denial of service attacks as those that “consume the resources of a remote host or network, thereby denying or degrading service to legitimate users. Such attacks are among the hardest security problems to address because they are simple to implement, difficult to prevent, and very difficult to trace.”1 Denial of service attacks, and the means for servers to deal with and trace such attacks, present numerous ethical issues.

The Computer Emergency Response Team, CERT, is a group based at Carnegie Mellon University. CERT describes their goal as “[to] study Internet security vulnerabilities, provide incident response services to sites that have been the victims of attack, publish a variety of security alerts, do research in wide-area-networked computing, and develop information and training to help you improve security at your site.” 2 This simple description presents an ethical dilemma; should this team publish information about new vulnerabilities that will provide hackers with the sources from which to create new DOS attacks? As new software packages are developed at an increasing rate, there will inevitably be more bugs that will provide vulnerabilities to DOS attacks. If hackers have equal access to information about these vulnerabilities as do system administrators, can the system administrators “keep up” with the hackers?

A fairly simple observation seems to answers this question. In modern society, it is increasingly difficult to keep secrets. For example, a few years ago, Intel encountered a bug in the Pentium chip, but did not release information about this bug.

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