How to reassure your visitors after the Yahoo breach

Last week, Yahoo disclosed that 1 billion accounts were compromised in 2013. Not only is this the largest breach ever disclosed (doubling the previous record for accounts hacked, also held by Yahoo), it’s larger than the next nine non-Yahoo breaches combined.

This news is disturbing not just because of its size, but what was stolen.


Names and emails and birthdates were taken, but even more disturbingly, so too were passwords and security questions that people use to safeguard their account.

To an even greater degree than passwords, security questions are often reused at many websites, so the information stolen in this breach could be used to steal further sensitive personal data.

In short, people are worried. And they have a very good reason to be.

It’s not just the Yahoo breach. It’s all the breaches.

There’s a very simple reason why you, a business owner, need to be concerned about this.

The Yahoo breach didn’t happen in a vacuum. Before that, it was LinkedIn’s 117 million accounts breached. And before that, it was Anthem’s 80 million. Before that, Target’s 70 million. And Sony’s 100 million. And so on, and so on.

The point is, there are now so many breaches hitting so many large customers, they’ve created a cloud of uncertainty and reluctance to do business.

Because it isn’t just these companies’ customers who are affected. These companies are so large they’re impacting your customers. Yahoo’s customers are your customers. And if they’re worried about hacking, it’s hurting your business.

Fear hurts sales.

With all of these breaches, it’s no wonder that 45% of people no longer trust retailers to keep their personal information safe.

And that same fear feeds into the fact that 45% of people have also abandoned their shopping carts due to security concerns, according to a 2013 study by Harris Interactive.

It’s no wonder that Baymard found that there are $260 billion dollars worth of recoverable sales from abandoned carts—if only ecommerce sites do something about it.

It doesn’t have to.

There’s light at the end of this tunnel. If you take active steps to ease these sales-sapping concerns, you can win back customers you may not have even know you’d lost and increase your overall sales.

The most effective way of doing this is by certifying your site with a trusted third-party.

Certification is a way to show that your site doesn’t contain malware, phishing, or exploit codes that will harm your customers.

It’s also a way to show that your business is legitimate (and at a time when, according to Harris, 17% of your customers don’t buy from sites because they’re uncertain about a business’s legitimacy, this matters).

Here’s what else certification does:

1. It helps you in Google

The McAfee SECURE certification begins easing concerns as soon as people search for your products in Google. Search is still where the majority of traffic, and therefore business, comes from. If things don’t look right in Google, people will never come to your site.

That’s why Pro users of the McAfee SECURE service have their sites highlighted in the search results of the tens of millions of McAfee SiteAdvisor software users, letting them know your site is safe to do business with even before they go there.

2. It gets more people to buy

Once people get to your site, they’ll see the trustmark, which is a globally-recognized security symbol that instantly reassures people that the site has been tested and certified.

Plus, your visitors can click on the trustmark to see security details, and for the most worried, can use the trustmark to navigate to to externally verify your site’s security.

These kind of reassurances are important to many, many people—in fact, Harris Interactive found that 20% of people decide to buy from a site only after they’ve seen a trustmark. It’s also why many sites that display the trustmark see 10% or more sales.

3. It protects your customers after they buy

Pro users of the McAfee SECURE certification are also able to offer their customers Identity Protection, which lets business owners give their customers $100,000 in identity theft protection whenever they make a purchase.

And because 83% of people are worried about their identities being stolen, according to a survey by TransUnion, it makes perfect sense to ease your customer concerns around this as well.

Wrapping up

If you’re selling things online, breaches are a big deal that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Chances are, they’re already negatively impacted your business, even though in all likelihood, you’ve never been breached. That’s the bad news.

The good news is, you can mitigate the worst effects with a simple, one-stop certification that will actually increase your sales!