Trust seal

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A trust seal is a seal awarded by proprietary companies to business web sites to display in an attempt to boost consumer confidence. There are several well-known trust seals from different companies, and the requirements for the displaying merchant vary, but typically involve a dedication to good security practices or the use of secure methods for transactions, such as Secure Socket Layer. Internet trust seals can come in a variety of forms, including security seals, business seals and privacy seals and are available from a variety of companies, usually for a fee. FreeTrustSeal.com offers trust seals to any web site for free. You can also find cost-effective solutions like Shieldo.com or Trust-Guard.com.

A seal can be either passive or active. Most SSL seals and many other well-known seals are only validated when they are created or renewed. Active seals show a recent scan date that reflects whether the site still meets the requirements. This acts as an early warning system of potential security or hacker-related issues. Active seals can further increase confidence but can still fall short of protecting consumers between the time a site is compromised and the time the compromise is detected.

Third party verification from a reliable source and a strategically placed trust seal can provide peace of mind for consumers as well as an increase in conversion rate and sales on websites[1]. Some trust seals, such as McAfee Hacker Safe, however, have been criticized as not doing enough to protect the security of visitors to a site[2] such as because they intentionally mark as 'Hacker Safe' websites known to McAfee to have an XSS vulnerability [3]. This is possible because most seals are a simple image that a hacker can simply copy and post onto their own site. Such lapses highlight the importance of anti-XSS protection security measures.


References

  1. Hu, Xiaorui; Lin, Zhangxi; Zhang, Han (2001-12-21) (PDF). Myth or Reality: Effect of Trust-Promoting Seals in Electronic Markets. http://zlin.ba.ttu.edu/papers/published/WITS01-trust.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  2. Dan Goodin (2008-04-29). "McAfee 'Hacker Safe' cert sheds more cred". The Register. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/29/mcafee_hacker_safe_sites_vulnerable/. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  3. Ryan Naraine and Dancho Danchev (2008-05-01). "More bad news for McAfee, HackerSafe certification". ZD Net. http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=1068. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 


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