Knowing what to trust OR what not to trust when searching for and visiting web sites can be a very difficult task. The risks are innumerable (i.e. adware, browser exploits, fraud, malware, phlishing, spam, spyware, etc.); but there is a solution that will help keep you safe online and it is called “WOT“. WOT is an acronym for “Web of Trust“. WOT is a FREE downloadable browser add-on for Internet Explorer and Firefox that will warn you when you are about to interact with a risky web site. It helps you make an educated decision about a web site’s reputation and whether you should interact with the site or not. WOT is based on a rating system where the ratings are a compilation of reviews, from trusted sources and from everyday users like us, to assess the reputation of web sites. WOT uses four categories which it bases the ratings: Trustworthiness, Vendor Reliability, Privacy and Child Safety.
At the time of this posting, WOT had accumulated ratings for over 20.6 million web sites. You can freely download “WOT without registering; however by registering with WOT, you are given access to advanced features of the system, such as customizing protection levels and blocking access to dangerous web sites.
Before explaining to you how WOT works, it is important to stress that WOT is only one layer of protection and should also be used to complement other security practices and layers (i.e. firewall turned “on; anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware applications are installed and routinely updated; Windows updates are maintained; moral browsing habits, etc.).
My personal opinion of WOT: “surfing without it is like playing Russian Roulette in your web browser”.
HOW “WOT” WORKS
[CLICK HERE] for online demo
I deliberately performed a search for “wallpaper” using the Google search engine. To educate my readers, “screensaver” and “wallpaper” sites are notorious for rogue downloads that can contain spyware, trojan viruses and malware. Reflected below you can see a sample of the search results. Next to the results you will see the color coded ratings and you will notice that I deliberately placed my mouse pointer over one of the “red” symbols at which a dialogue box appeared giving me a good idea that the site I was about to visit was in the “red” in all categories.
WHAT DO THE SYMBOLS MEAN
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ACTUALLY VISIT A RISKY WEBSITE
Should you visit a potentially risky web site, WOT will cause the browser window to darken and a warning will appear. It is at this point is where you make the educated decision to proceed to the site, whitelist the site or acquire additional details.