CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

An Expert System for the Selection of Electronic Payment Systems Based on Organizational Security Requirements

Date of Award

1999

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Sumitra Mukherjee

Committee Member

Michael J. Laszlo

Committee Member

S. Rollins Guild

Abstract

The widespread popularity of the Internet has made the promise of worldwide electronic commerce (EC) a reality. Companies are exploring how to provide goods and services over the Internet in order to extend their reach to a global marketplace that conducts business 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The low cost of transacting business electronically has been the motivating factor as consumers eagerly look toward the Internet to create economic opportunities. Electronic payment, a financial exchange that takes place online between buyers and sellers, is an integral part of EC. The content of this exchange usually involves some form of digital financial instrument (such as encrypted credit card numbers, electronic checks, or digital cash) that is backed by a bank or an intermediary, or by legal tender. With the rapid growth in EC, organizations are often faced with the problem of selecting an appropriate electronic payment system (EPS) to meet their requirements. While demand is rapidly growing, security concern is a major reason that impedes EC growth.

Organizations selecting individual EPS with different security methods find it extremely difficult to do business with each other. Selection of an EPS is a complex task. Firms often lack the necessary in-house expertise to make this choice. Hiring external consultants with expertise in the area can be expensive. A poor decision may have a significant negative impact. Implementing an EPS requires considerable technical expertise. Difficulties involved in selection and implementation include identifying the firm’s requirements, understanding available EPS options, and evaluating the best option based on economic, technical, and operational concerns. To deal with the complex decision of EPS selection in a changing environment, an expert system may be used. An expert system prototype for the selection of EPS was proposed, based on analysis and evaluation of major electronic payment systems (EPSs). The goal of this dissertation was to develop a rule-based expert system that would aid the requirement analysis process by asking appropriate questions; maintain a knowledge base on the security characteristics of various EPSs; and contain the expertise required to select and implement an appropriate system that meets an organization's security requirements. An extensive literature review was conducted to evaluate major EPSs to ascertain each system's applicability, strengths and weaknesses. Features of each were analyzed, with an emphasis on security aspects. Results were used to help design and build a prototype rule-based system to help organizations determine an appropriate strategy for security in EPS. The following EPSs were considered:

  • Electronic card-based systems: First Virtual (FV), Cyber Cash, and Secure Electronic Transactions (SET).
  • Electronic checks: Net Bill and NetCheque.
  • Electronic cash payment systems: Ecash and CyberCoin.
  • Micropayment systems: Millicent and Pay word.

The decision table approach was utilized to ensure that the rule base was well designed. The proposed system is capable of providing security advice related to those EPSs that have been included in the system. The proposed system handles questions based on security characteristics, but is not able to handle new systems whose characteristics have not been entered into the system. The expert system was designed in such a way that future changes to EPS characteristics require minimum change to the knowledge base. A prototype expert system for the selection of electronic payment systems was built and tested to validate the system. The recommendations of the expert system were compared to the recommendations of experts. Test results indicated that the rule-based paradigm with decision tables is useful in the design of a successful expert system for the selection of EPSs.

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