Singapore firms fail to protect consumers and their own brand from online fraud

Many of the websites of Top 100 businesses in Singapore are failing to protect their customers, staff and reputation says the Online Trust Alliance (OTA).
 
Established to create a trusted global online ecosystem and foster the elimination of email and internet fraud, abuse and cybercrime; thereby enhancing trust, confidence and the protection of businesses and consumers, the OTA recently published it’s findings on how well Singaporean online sites fare against their international peers in protecting consumer interests and brand reputation.
 
OTA’s scorecard showed that only 30% of the Top 100 visited websites in Singapore authenticated email whilst only 2% secured their online transactions with Extended Validation Secure Sockets Layer (EV SSL). In comparison, Fortune 100 companies authenticate 55% of email and 9.3% of online transactions with EV SSL. Somewhat surprising to OTA was that a large number of FSI and commercial sites were found lacking.
 
According to Craig Spiezle, Executive Director of OTA, authentication would allow businesses and users to distinguish between real senders of an email and fraudsters; while EV SSL requires a business to undergo rigorous certification to ensure that it is a trusted and not a spoof site.
 
Manish Goel, CEO of BoxSentry and Director of OTA said that he was surprised and somewhat disappointed with the low score of Singapore businesses. “As an ICT leader in the region, Singapore has an opportunity to demonstrate leadership by adopting international standards quickly,” he said. Goel added that the authentication process would take businesses merely minutes to complete and was a free process.
 
EV SSL implementation was even lower than authentication among the top 100 Singapore companies with only 2 businesses implementing it. Compared to German banks who lead global adoption with 80.3% EV SSL adoption, somewhat worryingly for Singapore users, none of the two are financial institutions.
 
To help businesses achieve a degree of success in building online trust, OTA has published a series of global guidelines. Available from their website, they are aimed at preserving and enhancing consumer trust and confidence.
 
While the current scorecard only lists out the result by industry sector, OTA will publish an updated scorecard in early 2010 that will provide by company name, those businesses who are lacking. This scorecard will list out the Top 100 Singaporean organizations and their compliance status with email authentication and EV SSL (for online transactions) standards.
 
Some business groups who have received results of the scorecard are take some action. The Direct Marketing Association of Singapore announced that it would support the OTA’s online trust principles and recommend members adopt them where possible. Association Chairman Lisa Watson said they would stop short of making them mandatory so as not to exclude any member who was unable to totally implement them but would work together with them to ensure a standard of trust was met.