A fond farewell and bright future ahead | TrustedSite’s CEO on the McAfee SECURE service transition

A fond farewell and bright future ahead | TrustedSite’s CEO on the McAfee SECURE service transition

We recently announced that the McAfee SECURE™ service would transition to TrustedSite Certification in the coming months. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on this change and give you a little background.

Nearly 20 years ago, a small company called ScanAlert developed one of the world's first commercial website and web application vulnerability scanners looking at website's from the attacker's point-of-view. This dedicated team of security researchers and developers gave online businesses the ability to test the security of their applications automatically by mimicking the methods of an attacker.

It was fantastic for website developers to be able to better find security flaws and fix them before a breach could happen, but there was another issue. Consumers just getting accustomed to online shopping had no way to know which sites might be more risky than others. So ScanAlert took their technology (and their patents) and gave it an additional job: let sites that have proven themselves to be more secure show that to their visitors.

And with that they introduced the HackerSafe trustmark. When security teams gave it to their marketers, those marketers started seeing higher conversion rates which meant more sales. That led more and more businesses to start testing trust on their websites and displaying the HackerSafe trustmark.

I was at McAfee at this point in time, leading the division focused on web security, and we certainly took notice. So in 2008, we acquired ScanAlert and their HackerSafe technology, and rebranded HackerSafe as the McAfee SECURE service. The new trustmark quickly became one of the most familiar and ubiquitous symbols of trust on the internet.

The acquisition also brought incredible talent in the web security space, most notably one of HackerSafe's founders, Ben Tyler, who brought an offensive security mindset to a reactionary security world. This allowed us to continue innovating and improving their website security technologies.

Fast forward a few years, and we began to realize that website security, and the certification service, deserved a truly dedicated focus. So I worked to spin the operation of the McAfee SECURE service out to a team that could be purely focused on its success.

Along with Ben and other members of McAfee leadership and founders of ScanAlert, we created PathDefender, which we shortly thereafter rebranded as TrustedSite.

At TrustedSite, we dedicated ourselves and our expanding team to building the best security trustmark system in the world, as well as the best external security testing solutions.

We integrated the McAfee SECURE services with dozens of emerging platforms, brought its reach to 19 different languages and continually expanded and improved its ability to evaluate website security and display that to the websites' visitors.

At the same time, the number of websites out there was ballooning as the cost of creating one kept getting lower. With that came more issues of trust, like business fraud, lack of merchant reliability, and increasing concerns about the security of shoppers’ personal information.

With that in mind, we went to work developing a series of certifications and trustmarks that could complement the McAfee SECURE service.

We started sending postcards to make sure the addresses of businesses were real and we started dialing phone numbers to make sure we could connect with the business. We began protecting the purchases on our customer's websites with 90-days of identity theft protection, and began surveying those customers for whether they had any issues with their purchase.

And we always focused on transparently providing the information we collected to the visitors of these sites so they could make better decisions and buy from safer sites.

We began testing the conversion impact TrustedSite had on websites before we even launched the services publicly and used that testing to inform every decision we made around the product. What we saw was that by earning these new certifications and displaying the trustmarks, website were seeing dramatic increases in their sales.

Online trust is no less important now than it was when the McAfee SECURE service was born, and we want to continue helping businesses do just that. So that led us to the decision to fully transition McAfee SECURE certification customers to the expanded TrustedSite service, at no additional cost.

In addition to the Certified Secure trustmark, which we’ve found performs just as well if not better than the existing trustmark, customers transitioning to the TrustedSite service will have access to our entire suite of trust-building tools, including 7 certifications and 10 trustmarks that go beyond security concerns and address everything from business legitimacy to order fulfillment to email spam.

Over 100,000 websites have already earned TrustedSite certifications and display TrustedSite trustmarks, and with this transition tens of thousands more will as well.

We know change can be hard, but we’re confident that you’ll love the additional features the TrustedSite suite brings, and we hope to make this transition as seamless as possible. We'll miss working with folks over at McAfee, but we know they'll be doing great things to improve cybersecurity for years to come.

TrustedSite has come a long way since our early days, but Ben, myself, and our incredible team are excited to keep innovating on what we originally set out to do: helping businesses, and their customers, stay safe online. From our suite of certifications and trustmarks, to our recently expanded attack surface management services which continues ScanAlert's original vision of bringing the best cybersecurity intelligence to online businesses, we’re proud of our role in making the Internet a place where everyone can thrive.

Thank you to all our customers, whether you've been with us since the beginning or are just getting started. We'll be here to help with whatever you need and we can't wait for what happens next.

Tim Dowling
CEO of TrustedSite

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