Accountants should review websites

The institute urged online businesses to accept independent reviews by specially trained accountants to boost public confidence in internet security.

WebTrust is a web-based assurance scheme which applies a seal of approval after a series of tests, similar to a lightweight audit.

Chris Howard, director of assurance services and strategy, said: ‘The ICAEW has been pioneering the development of WebTrust, an internet seal programme, capable of assisting management in guarding against potential breaches.

‘WebTrust involves specially trained chartered accountants reviewing and testing the internet operations of bankers and merchants in respect of security, privacy and delivery procedures.’

The institute has also published a set of guidelines for consumers buying over the internet following news that the public’s lack of confidence is stifling e-business. The professional body warned consumers ‘to accept a share of the responsibility for protecting themselves’.

The guidelines, among others, include: using a secure internet browser, paying by credit card and never giving anyone passwords online.

The advice is a result of a recent gathering of 11 institutes of chartered accountants in Paris to discuss internet security.

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