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SSL Validation FAQ's - Why is there a need for extended validation certificates?

Because there are no generally accepted standards for verifying the organizational information that is contained in some certificates, uncertainty has arisen in users’ minds over the significance of the padlock icon. This confusion has been compounded by the growing practice of Web site operators to display padlock icons within the site contents. Furthermore, the URLs that commonly appear in browser address bars have become obscure and users can no longer use these to assure themselves that they are transacting with the Web site operator that they expect. Therefore, there arose a need to display trusted identifying information about the operator of the Web site, and to do it in a way that clearly indicated to the user the business entity with whom they were doing business. This had to be done in a way that established minimum standards for the trustworthiness of that identifying information. Hence, the major browser suppliers and a group of certification authorities came together to develop these minimum standards. At the same time, some browser suppliers developed user interface standards for displaying that information to emphasize its trustworthiness.

With these combined developments, it is expected that the Web users who engage in sensitive transactions with their governments, financial service providers, healthcare providers, etc. will look for these new cues as part of their personal Web use routine.

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