ECONOMY

Working against phishing

In theory, Greece does have the legal framework for electronic transactions, having adopted many European Union directives such as that concerning the electronic signature which certifies the authenticity of a document and ensures security. In practice, however, firms specializing in the certification of electronic signatures or invoices face various red-tape obstacles which hamper the development of this particular market. For instance, the issuing of electronic invoices was made possible in the EU in January 2004. But in Greece, because certain details like how these are stored has not been settled, tax offices often declared themselves unable to handle the matter. Despite the obstacles, the electronic signatures market is growing, as shown by data supplied by ADACOM, a specialist firm. ADACOM, a member of the Ideal group, spent about 8 million euros to create an electronic certification center and provides electronic security services in Greece and the Balkans through a partnership with US firm Verisign. Since the beginning of the year, ADACOM, in partnership with OTE telecom and its Internet arm OTEnet, has begun providing 50,000 electronic signatures to civil servants for transactions with the public. Panayiotis Vasiliadis, the company’s general manager, said yesterday that ADACOM’s certification center today manages about 180,000 electronic signatures in Greece and neighboring Balkan countries. He takes the view that growth rates will be steep, with the number growing to 1 million by 2008-09. At a press briefing yesterday, ADACOM presented solutions for dealing with phenomena such as phishing – the theft of credit card codes through the Internet which makes it possible for thieves to empty a bank account. A major hunt is under way in the US for the arrest of a group which phished an unknown number of credit card codes.