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Global information security company Cybertrust on Jan. 25 launched its extended validation secure sockets layer certificates for Microsoft Windows XP and Vista users.

The announcement comes on the heels of Entrust’s release of its EV SSL certificates Jan. 18. Businesses utilizing Cybertrust EV SSL Certificates will enable their customers using IE 7 on Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows XP Service Pack 2 to handle online transactions with greater confidence, Cybertrust officials said.

EV SSL Certificates turn on the “green bar” in IE 7, which indicates the organization has successfully passed a thorough identity check and assures customers that the Web site is a verified business. The technology provides a highly recognizable, visible way for organizations to prove that their Web site is an authenticated business to assure consumers they are using the correct Web site and not a phished imitation, Cybertrust officials said.

Extended Validation SSL Server Certificates are part of a new category of SSL certificates created by the Certification Authority/Browser Forum—a voluntary organization of leading certification authorities and vendors of Internet browser applications—and are issued to Web sites only after completion of the new validation process.

“When it comes to organizations conducting business online, the impact of EV SSL Certificates can be summed up in one word—trust,” said Stijn Bijnens, Cybertrust senior vice president of identity management, in a statement. “Trust directly translates to revenue that businesses cannot afford to lose if consumers lose confidence in the security of their sites.”

Forrester Research analyst Paul Stamp said the fact that the address bar turns green under the right circumstances is a key feature of the EV SSL certificates, and that the certificates help provide security on the Web. “There’s some extra validation processes in place to make sure that EV SSL certificates are only issued to real, legitimate organizations,” he said.

A green address bar in IE 7 means the Web site and its owner’s identity have been researched and certified by Cybertrust validation specialists as legitimate, company officials said. The address bar will not turn green if the Web site does not have an EV SSL certificate, indicating to users that they should proceed with caution before conducting online transactions, according to Cybertrust.

“The Cybertrust EV SSL certificates are one of the biggest improvements in the ability of businesses to create trust online, as users receive confirmation of their identity,” Bijnens said.

Check out’s Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Ryan Naraine’s eWEEK Security Watch blog.