E-Commerce Security Is Broken, Vulnerable, Says Hacker Conference Founder

    Date29 Jul 2010
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    Lots of code excitement will spring from the Black Hat hacker conference this week, but already a huge controversy is erupting: Black Hat's founder thinks SSL--the security code making much of online commerce safe--is broken. SSL, Secure Sockets Layer (and its successor Transport Layer Security) is a Net-based security protocol that ensures communications between computers is safe and unhackable--essentially so that no one can "listen in." It works like this: A server and computer connect together and say hello, digitally. This bit is unsecured. The two machines exchange a "key" which unlocks a private line that only they can communicate on.

    These private exchanges are the basis of safe e-shopping, including credit card transactions. On the server side the site's owners can be certain they're speaking to a genuine customer, who's data can be trusted (to an extent).

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