Online Trust Alliance Labels Twitter As Most Trustworthy Site
June 12, 2014

Online Trust Alliance Labels Twitter As Most Trustworthy Site

Peter Suciu for - Your Universe Online

Not much can really be said in 140 characters but perhaps saying less is what makes a website trustworthy, and why micro-blogging service Twitter earned the highest score in a new report measuring the trustworthiness of websites, established by the Online Trust Alliance. The group is made up of various technology-based firms including Microsoft, VeriSign, Symantec and even Twitter itself.

The Annual Online Trust Audit and Honor Roll ranks websites in a number of areas that include consumer protection and privacy; and the audit, which was introduced in 2010, is meant to set the standard for independent review and analysis of the best practices and controls.

The OTA noted, "The 2014 Honor Roll examined the brand protection, security and privacy protection practices of approximately 800 websites." This included several key sectors: 2014 Internet Retailer top 100, 2014 Internet Retailer top 500, FDIC top 100 banks, Top 50 federal government sites, Top 50 social networking and sharing sites, Top 50 news and media sites and OTA member companies.

OTA relies on various resources including Alexa, Comscore, the FDIC, government rankings and Internet Retailer Magazine's Internet Retailer 500 to determine which websites should be considered for inclusion in the audit.

Of the 800 sites reviewed in the OTA audit only 29 percent actually made the "Honor Roll;" and those were called out for using the best practices to protect the data of users. Tech sites that made the Honor Roll included Microsoft, Netflix, Newegg, GoDaddy and Symantec. Twitter scored top honors for the second time, and the site was ranked tops for its commitment to consumer protection, security of its infrastructure and its user data protection and privacy.

"Twitter is honored to again receive the top overall award for the highest score on the OTA Honor Roll," Bob Lord, Twitter's director of information security, said in a statement. "It has become increasingly clear over the past year that companies need to be even more vigilant in applying security and encryption technologies like always-on-SSL, forward secrecy, and DMARC in order to protect their users, and we're glad to partner with organizations like the OTA to raise the security and privacy bar."

The rankings reportedly consider whether sites were hit by hackers or security breaches. As Cnet's Lance Whitney reported, "Such major companies as Target and eBay have been the victims of cyberbreaches that stole usernames, passwords, and other data, putting their users and customers at risk."

The timing of the study comes with some irony. On Wednesday it was reported Twitter had to plug a security vulnerability in its popular TweetDeck application after disabling the system for more than an hour. USA Today reported the systems "randomly re-tweeted messages containing potentially malicious computer code scripts."

It reportedly took programmers several hours to plug the hole in TweetDeck, which is a free download for desktop computers, iOS and Android devices, as well as the Google Chrome browser. The software allows users to organize Twitter streams and provides a friendlier view of Twitter feeds.