A trust seal is a seal awarded by proprietary companies to business web sites to display in an attempt to boost consumer confidence. There are several well-known trust seals from different companies, and the requirements for the displaying merchant vary, but typically involve a dedication to good security practices or the use of secure methods for transactions, such as Secure Socket Layer.
A seal can be either passive or active. Most SSL seals and many other well-known seals are only validated when they are created or renewed. Active seals show a recent scan date that reflects whether the site still meets the requirements. This acts as an early warning system of potential security or hacker-related issues. Active seals can further increase confidence but can still fall short of protecting consumers between the time a site is compromised and the time the compromise is detected.