Study: Eight Percent of Websites Are Truly Safe

By April 23, 2010

Only 8 percent of consumer sites are truly safe, according to a survey by the Online Trust Alliance. Of the 1,200 company domains and 500 million email messages analyzed by the OTA for usage of email authentication standards an

d Extended Validation SSL Certificates (EV SSL) and the presence of malware, only 113 organizations conformed to OTA’s best practices.

Internet retail 500 (14 percent) and the top 100 financial institutions (13 percent) scored higher than average for the whole, while only 6 percent of the Fortune 500 did. The least secure? Government sites, of which only 3 percent were deemed secure.

“While major corporations, banks, governmental agencies and industry working groups talk about best practices, the majority are failing to adopt, risking demands for added regulations,” said Craig Spiezle, Executive Director and President of the OTA.

The organizations singled out by the OTA for their online security success are Apple Computer, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, Charles Schwab, Bank of America, eBay, Microsoft and PayPal.

Studies like this show how easy it must be for hackers these days.

The vast amounts of data people put online are making criminals’ lives easier. Blippy, which shares your credit card purchases with your friends, was “hacked” by a Google search last night, which revealed users’ credit card numbers in the search results. This is at the same time unsurprising and hilarious. Because really, anyone who didn’t see this coming gets to wear the special hat.

Interestingly, it looks like criminals are having an easier time monetizing social networks than the social networks themselves are. Hackers are getting between $25 and $45 per 1,000 Facebook accounts. Facebook’s increasingly leaky privacy settings could drive these prices down, though, as user data becomes easier to find.

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