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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. 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 such as because they intentionally mark as 'Hacker Safe' websites known to McAfee to have an XSS vulnerability . 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.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ 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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