The ICT Lounge
Section 8.4:
Security while sending emails and bank details online
Modern technology allows us to carry out many day-to-day tasks online. Shopping, banking and messaging etc. can all be done on the internet.

While this makes our lives much easier, there are security risks that you have to be aware of. We discuss some of these risks in this section and also ways in which we can protect our online data.

Key Concepts of this section:
Understand what is meant by e-commerce
Know how online data can be secured.
Be able to describe the features of website that has been secured using a secure socket layer.

Securing our online data
Key Words:
Digital certificate, Secure socket layer (SSL).
Before the internet was available to the public, our day-to-day lives were very different.

For example:
If you wanted to buy an item, you had to travel to a store and pay for it with cash. If you wanted to carry out banking tasks, you had to go to the bank. If you wanted to write to someone in a different city, you had to write a letter and post it.

Products can be purchased online .
Banking can be carried out online.
Online data must be protected.
These days, many of these tasks can be carried out online.

For example:
We can purchase items on Amazon using a credit card. We can log onto a bank's website and check account balances or transfer money digitally. We can send emails digitally instead of using the postal service. We can even buy our groceries online and have them delivered to our door.

As a result of this, we often have to send data such as bank account / credit card numbers over the internet.

This data is very attractive to cyber criminals who are always trying to steal and use it in order to access our cash or to commit fraud.

How can we protect our data online?
Fortunately there are a couple of protection methods that are very effective at preventing the theft of our online data. These are:
Each of these online data protection methods will be discussed in detail below:

Digital certificates
A digital certificate can be attached to electronic mails (emails) and websites in order to prove who has sent the message.

Digital certificates prove that emails or websites are from trusted sources.
A digital certificate consists of the following:
  • Sender's email address
  • Name of the sender
  • A serial number
  • Certificate expiry date.
When the recipient of the email opens it, they can view the digital certificate to make sure that it has come from a trusted source.

Secure socket layer (SSL)
SSL is used on websites where we use bank or credit card details in order to make purchases.

Secure websites start with https.
Non-secure websites start with http.
Secure websites have an icon of a padlock.
Buying products over the internet is known as e-commerce. Examples of e-commerce websites include Amazon, Ebay and Walmart.

Any website that allows you to purchase something with a bank card/credit card is an e-commerce site.

It doesn't have to be a product that you purchase. You can also purchase services such as airline or rail tickets.

SSL encrypts the connection between your computer and the e-commerce website and ensure that all transactions are secure.

This stops your bank/credit card details being stolen by hackers.

How can you tell if a website is secure?
You can tell if a website is protected by SSL by looking at it's URL (web address).

The web address should start with 'https' and there should be an icon of a padlock.

You should never make online purchases on websites that start with only 'http' (without the s).

These sites are not encrypted with SSL and your bank/credit card details will be at risk of being stolen and used.


Click the above task and answer the questions about Online Data Security.


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Links to Theory Units:
Links to Practical Units:
Section 11: File Management
Section 12: Images
Section 13: layout
Section 14: Styles
Section 15: Proofing
Section 16: Graphs and Charts
Section 17: Document Production
Section 18: Data Manipulation
Section 19: Presentations
Section 20: Data Analysis
Section 21: Website Authoring