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Commerce Department Introduces NSTIC to Protect E-Commerce Industry

Commerce Department Introduces NSTIC to Protect E-Commerce Industry - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Photo: Stephen Orsillo
Commerce Department Introduces NSTIC to Protect E-Commerce Industry - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Photo: Stephen Orsillo

Point, click, buy has become somewhat more complicated as online commerce has transformed into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. And the White House is actively working to ensure the cyber safety of e-commerce through its recent initiative, the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.

In other words, NSTIC wants a secure way to verify online identities so point, click and buy doesn't end up in scam, theft and cyber crime.

NSTIC, which is a joint endeavor of the Commerce Department and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, aims to protect online transactions for government, banking and retail industries.

Commerce Department Secretary Gary Locke announced the new office in January along with White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt.

So how does NSTIC's identity verification system work? It hinges on what's called the “Identity Ecosystem,“ which spans the online environment. While the office is still working on particular methods, be it a random password generator or a special token, the ecosystem would allow Internet users, organizations, services and individual devices to establish and authenticate their digital identities.

The Identity Ecosystem is decidedly not a one-size-fits-all approach. That's part of the appeal. It still aims to preserve the Internet's cornerstone of anonymity by sharing only the information necessary to complete an online transaction. The plan will enable users to bank online, view important documents and simply surf the web without fear of identity theft or fraud.

The program will have a national office set up by the Commerce Department and will collaborate with Homeland Security, the General Services Administration and other federal departments to help implement it. A private-public partnership is needed, according to NIST Director Patrick Gallagher.

“Just about every activity the NIST does is done in conjunction with the private sector,” he said. “It’s the way we do business.”

E-commerce is an important business for the United States, growing at about 8 percent annually and projected to make $250 million in sales by 2014. Webpronenews.com spoke to a market analyst who said three factors are behind the projected increase:  the nation’s growing population, daily deal  sites like Groupon, and mobile commerce.

These numbers give cyber criminals a huge financial incentive to attack businesses and commit online crimes. NSTIC is viewed by the Obama administration as an important step in protecting e-commerce and U.S. national security.

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