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The Anatomy of Online Shopping dissected: new EU Agency white paper


17 Dec 2010


Health & Consumers

The EU’s ‘cyber security’ Agency ENISA, (the European Network and Information Security Agency) has issued a white paper today on Safe Online Shopping. The paper analyses the anatomy of ‘Online Shopping’, and warns on the risks and threats. It provides different countermeasures and guidelines to consumers in the form of 5 ‘golden rules’ on how to shop safely online. The paper also provides a comprehensive checklist for the online seller on how to operate secure online business. As many citizens lack trust in online purchases, this report increases awareness of the real risks and how to tackle them.

Nearly 40% of EU citizens shopped on-line in 2009, according to EUROSTAT’s Internet in 2009 survey. The paper concludes that online shopping will continue to be an increasing global trend. Yet, the biggest barrier is the fear of potential fraud or identity theft. This fear still keeps millions of consumers from buying goods or services online. This survey shows that ca 1/3 of those not having used the Internet for e-commerce had concerns about payment security. Another 30 % had privacy and trust concerns. As ‘Trust and security’ is one of the six major themes of the Digital Agenda for Europe, this fear underlines the last barrier for a bigger online economy.

The paper gives a comprehensive overview of the definition, history, the main drivers and trends in online shopping. It also looks into e.g. banks payment services, the underlying Internet Infrastructure Services and online/fee fraud.

The 5 ‘golden rules’ for consumers cover the following points:

1.        Tips on avoiding fraudulent sites

2.        How to protect your data when shopping online

3.        Tips for safe transactions when paying online

4.        Overview of legislation that protects online customers

5.        How to deal with completion of the sale issues

The paper concludes that online shopping offers great benefits for the consumers to enjoy. Sellers also reach customers that they would otherwise never reach. Online shopping can also provide organisational benefits such as improved processes, better brand recognition, reduced costs and improved productivity. However, the Internet also brings new risks, as criminals will make use of the new possibilities to steal, defraud and commit online crimes.

The Executive Director, Prof. Udo Helmbrecht comments; “This comprehensive white paper on online shopping and its 5 ‘golden rules’ is a milestone for increasing trust in the digital economy, and making it prosper even more.”
The full report and all countermeasures:


The original and valid version of this release is the English. Translations are for the purpose of media distribution only, the English takes precedence over them in every detail.

For interviews please contact:

Ulf Bergström, Spokesman, ENISA, Mobile: +30 6948 460134,,

Katerina Christaki, Digital Communications