RealTime IT News

Securicor Beefs Up Security for Online Shoppers

[London, ENGLAND] U.K. security firm Securicor plc has announced a new online service named SafeDoor that allows people to shop online while keeping their credit card and personal details private.

Coinciding with the news that intruders gained access to 98,000 customer accounts at Amazon division Bibliofind, the launch of SafeDoor appeared to be well-timed. Potential online shoppers are not yet losing their fear that the Internet is unsafe, as statistics show.

Even though 17 million people currently access the Internet in the U.K., 71 percent are still not shopping online, according to researchers at MORI. As many as 46 percent of users believe that releasing credit card details is just "too risky," according to the National Consumer Council.

More depressing for e-commerce entrepreneurs is that 65 percent of online shoppers are said to "bottle out" at the last minute and abandon their shopping trolleys at the check-out.

But now, according to the official line, it's SafeDoor.co.uk to the rescue, backed by Securicor's 65 years experience in the security business. And to emphasize the idea of shopper vulnerability, Securicor has issued a bizarre picture of two unclothed Internet shoppers that could, at a pinch, also be used for this week's NakedWife virus stories.

SafeDoor, however, does appear to be a useful service, enabling shoppers to register their personal and credit card details just once -- over the phone, if preferred -- and then shop without needing to reveal any more information to retailers.

"Once registered with www.SafeDoor.co.uk your personal details will be kept private giving you safe and private access to the online world and the full range products available through SafeDoor's registered retailers," said Stephen Taylor, chief executive of SafeDoor Securicor e-solutions.

Around 40 retailers are expected to be using the SafeDoor service by the end of March, growing to 100 during the course of the year.

It all sounds good, but will SafeDoor protect its database of credit card details with more enthusiasm than that shown by other firms?

Yes, says SafeDoor -- because it is also protecting Securicor's reputation as a security provider, whereas retailers are simply trying to sell books, CDs and other products. SafeDoor says it will never pass credit card details over the Internet to the retailers, and not even SafeDoor call center staff will have access to customers' credit card numbers.

Securicor, which has an annual turnover of more than £1.4 billion (US $2 billion), operates in 35 countries worldwide.