When it comes to trustworthy websites, banks drop the ball

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OTA’s ninth annual Online Trust Audit & Honor Roll analyzed more than 1,000 consumer-facing websites for their website and email security and privacy practices. The Audit revealed that 52 percent of analyzed websites qualified for the Honor Roll, a five percent improvement over 2016.

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OTA also observed the emergence of an alarming three-year trend: sites either qualify for the Honor Roll or fail the Audit. In other words, sites increasingly either take privacy and security seriously and do well, or lag the industry significantly in one or more critical areas.

“Data is the ‘oil’ of the Internet economy. It is fueling innovation, growth and revenue. At the same time, if abused there is a risk of data spills, negatively impacting user expectations and ultimately the Internet at-large,” said OTA Chairman Emeritus, Craig Spiezle.

The consumer services category scored the highest with 76 percent earning an Honor Roll designation. OTA considers consumer services any website that requires consumers to create an online account such as social media, file sharing or dating. The FDIC 100 banking category scored lowest with 27 percent making the Honor Roll.

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Industry highlights

From best to worst performing industries:

Consumer Services: This industry was again the best performing with 76 percent making the Honor Roll this year. This segment accounted for 26 of the top 50 consumer-facing sites (52 percent).

Internet retailers: Fifty-one percent of the top 500 Internet retailers made the Honor Roll, a significant improvement over last year’s score of 44 percent. This segment accounted for 10 of the top 50 consumer-facing sites (20 percent).

News and media: Forty-eight percent of news and media sites made the Honor Roll this year, the most significant improvement over the previous year across all industries. In 2016, media and news sites were the worst performing sector with only 23 percent making the Honor Roll. This segment accounted for three of the top consumer-facing 50 sites (6 percent).

ISPs, carriers, hosters & email providers: Forty-six percent of companies in this new 2017 category made the Honor Roll. This segment accounted for seven of the top 50 consumer-facing sites (14 percent).

Government: Thirty-nine percent of audited U.S. federal government sites made the Honor Roll. This was a significant decrease from 46 percent in 2016. 60 percent received failing grades.

FDIC 100 banks: The percent of FDIC 100 banks making the Honor Roll saw the biggest drop in 2017, going from 55 percent in 2016 to 27 percent. This sector had shown consistent, significant improvement in their Honor Roll score up to 2016 before plummeting this year predominantly due to increased breaches, low privacy scores and low levels of email authentication. 65 percent received failing grades.