Twitter Stands at Top of Online Trust Honor Roll

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The Rising Social Networking Security Threat

End users are more aware of the potential threat, but awareness does not necessarily translate into a change of behavior.

In a week where password-related breaches and Flame malware dominated cybersecurity news, I thought it would be good to end the week with something a bit more positive.


Earlier this week, the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) released the fourth annual Online Trust Honor Roll, recognizing website adoption of key technologies to help protect consumer privacy and security. The honor roll reflects a composite analysis of sites' adherences to self-regulatory efforts and adoption of security and privacy best practices. Of the companies evaluated, less than 30 percent made the grade.


Given all the concerns about social media and privacy, it was a little surprising to see that social media and e-commerce represent the strongest sectors in terms of supporting privacy and best security practices. The leader of the pack? Twitter, which scored at the top of nearly every criteria and recently embraced the support of Do Not Track (DNT) privacy preferences, demonstrating commitment to self-regulation.


The report also stated that social media in general made a huge jump in security improvements from last year to this year. Last year, only 12 percent of social media sites made the honor roll; this year it is up to 52 percent. OTA credits social media's willingness to adopt email authentication and other security applications.


Of course, it isn't all good news. According to the report, 75 percent of online retailers are still failing to follow best practices when it comes to security, and that can expose visitors to these sites to privacy, social engineering and other security threats.


Being on the list also doesn't mean that the company is immune to security problems. LinkedIn was listed in the Social Media Honor Roll, but as you already know, was a major player in this week's password-breach news cycle.


I totally agree with the OTA's final assessment in the report: Good security requires collaborative efforts. The report said:

To maximize consumer protection, no single company or constituency can work alone. Only with the collaboration of industry, business, NGOs and government stakeholders can we achieve a "trusted Internet" and assure the vitality of online services.

Congratulations to those named on the Online Trust Honor Roll. I hope to see that number grow in 2013.

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