The success of the Workshop on Usability and Transparency of Web Authentication has led the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) to charter the Web Security Context Working Group, a new initiative to devise standards for browsers in an effort to help people decide whether a site is trustworthy. The March workshop, which drew many big technology and online finance companies as participants, showed W3C that there is considerable interest in secure interfaces. W3C expects to attract browser vendors, security experts, research institutes, financial institutions, and end users to the group. W3C says the group will also work with organizations such as IETF, OASIS, and Liberty Alliance. Mary Ellen Zurko of IBM will head the group, which will focus on the information browsers need to provide in order to describe the security context, presenting the information and raising awareness, and improving browsers so they are able to guard against being spoofed. “When I’m browsing the Web, I want my browser to help me understand who really is the owner of a Web page,” says Tim Berners-Lee, director of W3C. “There is much deployed and proven security technology, but we now need to connect it all the way through to the Web user.”
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