A US accountants? body hopes to make online shoppers confident that Internet sites are safe by selling an authentication service to retailers, called Web Trust.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) hopes to quash consumer doubts about the security of online transactions with Web Trust, an initiative that begins later this month. Businesses can sign up with the AICPA to have their transaction process checked by accountants and then given a Web Trust seal of approval, which can be displayed on their Web pages.
Everett Johnson, chairman of the AICPA?s electronic commerce taskforce, said less than a quarter of all Internet users shop online and surveys agree that the majority of users are not convinced it is safe to give out their credit card details over the Internet. He said the Web Trust evaluation will determine if the business? claims about its transaction processes are accurate, find out if customers? orders are fulfilled as agreed and decide if the business carefully protects data on its customers.
Verisign encryption technology will stop hackers forging the Web Trust seal, which also provides a link to the AICPA report on the business concerned. To join the scheme, businesses must pay a fee and accountants authenticating firms must earn a Web Trust licence, Johnson said, following training in hardware, software and the Internet.
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