Achieving Fair Exchange and Customer Anonymity for Online Products in Electronic Commerce
In the recent years, e-commerce has gained much importance. Traditional commerce (in which case the customer physically goes to the merchant’s shop, purchases goods and/or services and makes a payment) is slowly being replaced with e-commerce and more people tend to prefer doing their shopping online. One of the main reasons for this attraction is the convenience the e-commerce provides. Customers can choose from a lot of different merchants at the convenience of their homes or while travelling by avoiding the hassle and stress of traditional shopping. However, e-commerce has lots of challenges. One key challenge is trust as transactions take place across territories and there are various legal & regulatory issues that govern these transactions. Various protocols and underlying e-commerce technologies help in the provision of this trust. One way to establish trust is to ensure fair exchange. There is also a question about traceability of transactions and customers’ need for privacy. This is provided by anonymity – making sure that the transactions are untraceable and that the customers’ personal information is kept secret. Thus the aim of this research is to propose a protocol that provides fair exchange and anonymity to the transacting parties by making use of a Trusted Third Party. The research is also aimed at ensuring payment security and making use of a single payment token to enhance the efficiency of the protocol. The proposed protocol consists of pre-negotiation, negotiation, withdrawal, purchase and arbitration phases. The analysis of the protocol proves that throughout all the phases of the e-commerce transaction, it is able to provide fair exchange and complete anonymity to the transacting parties. Anonymity provides the privacy of customers’ data and ensures that all Personally Identifiable Information of the transacting parties are kept hidden to avoid misuse. The protocol proposed is model checked to ensure that it is able to show that the fair exchange feature is satisfied. It is implemented using Java to show that it is ready-to-use and not just a theoretical idea but something that can be used in the real-world scenario. The security features of the protocol is taken care of by making sure that appropriate cryptographic algorithms and protocols are used to ensure provision of confidentiality and integrity. This research explores those areas that have not been covered by other researchers with the idea that there is still a lot of scope for improvement in the current research. It identifies these v opportunities and the ‘research gaps’ and focuses on overcoming these gaps. The current e-commerce protocols do not cover all the desirable characteristics and it is important to address these characteristics as they are vital for the growth of e-commerce technologies. The novelty of the protocol lies in the fact that it provides anonymity as well as fair exchange using a Trusted Third Party that is entirely trustworthy unlike certain protocols where the trusted third party is semi-trusted. The proposed protocol makes use of symmetric key cryptography wherever possible to ensure that it is efficient and light weight. The number of messages is significantly reduced. This overcomes the drawback identified in various other protocols which are cumbersome due to the number of messages. Anonymity is based on blind signature method of Chaum. It has been identified that usage of other methods such as pseudo-identifiers have resulted in the inefficiency of the protocol due to the bottlenecks created by these identifiers. It also ensures anonymity can never be compromised unlike certain protocols whereby an eavesdropper can find out the customer’s identity as the customer is required to disclose his/her public key during transactions. Further to this, the protocol also provides immunity against message replay attacks. Finally, the protocol always assumes that one or more parties can always be dishonest which is unlike certain protocols that assume only one party can be dishonest at any point. This ensures that all scenarios are taken into consideration and two parties cannot conspire against the other thus compromising on the fairness of the protocol. Detailed analysis, implementation, verification and evaluation of the protocol is done to ensure that the research is able to prove that the protocol has been carefully designed and the key goals of fair exchange and anonymity. All scenarios are taken into consideration to prove that the protocol will indeed satisfy all criteria. The research thus expects that the protocol could be implemented in real-life scenarios and finds a great potential in the e-commerce field.
- PhD