WOT (Web of Trust) – Is It The Most Important Browser Security Add-on You Need To Install?

image It would be difficult for regular readers of this site not to be aware, that I write consistently on the importance of Internet Browser protection.

In fact, we’ve covered 20 or more Browser add-ons here in the past few weeks – from add-ons that add functionality, to those that promise to provide additional security.

All this coverage of Browser add-ons rattled my Brain somewhat, and got me thinking about the single most important add-on I have installed – the add-on I couldn’t do without.

Based on the way that I surf the Web, there was no contest. Of the 17 add-ons I have installed on Firefox, the hands down winner – the single most important add-on for my style of surfing is WOT (Web of Trust). I don’t think I’m alone in this assessment.

I frequently hear from readers who, after installing WOT on their computer systems, feel reassured that they are safer than ever before, and who express a renewed sense of confidence, and  a new level of enthusiasm, while surfing the Internet.

In fact, just under 6,000 Tech Thoughts readers have installed WOT in the last two years – according to today’s download stats.

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And why not. Security starts with the Web Browser, and WOT substantially reduces the risk exposure, that comes with wandering through the increasingly risky neighborhood that the Internet has become.

What is WOT?

WOT, one of the most downloaded Firefox Add-ons at the Mozilla add-on site, (also compatible with Internet Explorer and Chrome), is a free Internet Browser resource which  investigates web sites you are visiting for spyware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, unreliable online shops, phishing, and online scams – helping you avoid unsafe web sites.

For example, here’s a Google search in which WOT indicates which sites are safe. Notice the unsafe (red) sites, in the Google ads!

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Take a look at what happens if, in fact, you do end up on an unsafe web site. WOT’s dropdown warning curtain blocks access to the site until you determine otherwise.

WOT - new

WOT operates in a unique fashion in order to offer active protection to the Internet user community. It stands out from the crowd of similar applications, by soliciting the opinions of users/members whose views on web site safety are incorporated into the overall site safety rating. According to WOT, the user community now has reputation data on over 30 million sites worldwide.

The shared information on a site’s reputation includes trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy, and child safety. As well, in order to achieve maximum security coverage, WOT uses thousands of trusted sources including phishing site listings, to keep users protected against rapidly spreading threats.

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WOT integrates seamlessly with search engine results from popular search engines including Google, Yahoo, MSN and other popular sites, and provides impressive protection against Internet predators.

WOT recently added the top three web-based email services – Google Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail, to its free security protection. You can now feel more confident and secure, since WOT checks links embedded in your email, and warns you of dangerous web sites so that you can avoid spyware, spam, phishing, identity theft and other Internet scams; before you click on dangerous embedded links.

How WOT works:

The Browser add-on icon, displays a color rating for each site you visit, indicating whether a site is safe to use, should be used with caution, or avoided entirely.

Using traffic light colors, (green, yellow, and red), WOT leaves you in no doubt as to the safety rating of a web site. An impressive feature of WOT is the dropdown transparent warning curtain, shown earlier, triggered on visiting a dangerous site.

Recognizing that up to ten percent of Internet users are at a disadvantage however, due to colorblindness, and cannot rely on an Internet safety system based on color coding, the Web of Trust development team recently released an adaptive version of WOT. This version incorporates equivalent alternative information, through assistive or adaptive technology, for colorblind users.

This colorblind accessible application provides the same critical benefits to those individuals who have to contend with visual impairments, as it has to those of us who have come to rely on WOT as a major defense against the pervasive hazards we encounter on the Internet.

Quick facts – WOT checks the following on each web site visited:

Trustworthiness

Vendor reliability

Privacy

Child Safety

More quick facts:

Ratings for over 30 million websites

The WOT browser add-on is light and updates automatically

WOT rating icons appear beside search results in Google, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Gmail, etc.

Settings can be customized to better protect your family

WOT Security Scorecard shows rating details and user comments

Works with Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome

Interface supports English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish and Finnish.

System requirements: Windows (all), Mac OS X, Linux

Download at: MyWot

Surf more securely by installing this browser add-on which will provide you with an in-depth site analysis based on real world results. Keep in mind however, that you are your own best protection. Stop · Think · Click.

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33 Comments

Filed under Adaptive Technologies, Browser add-ons, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Google Chrome, Interconnectivity, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Internet Safety Tools, Linux, Mac OS X, Online Safety, Software, Windows Tips and Tools, WOT (Web of Trust)

33 responses to “WOT (Web of Trust) – Is It The Most Important Browser Security Add-on You Need To Install?

  1. Jose

    Yes, yes, yes!
    This is the best security app you can use (all included, not just browser security).
    Keep talking about WOT Bill, it’s worth the effort.

    Jose.

    • Hi Jose,

      Now that’s what I call enthusiasm! :)

      It’s great to see a high level user, such as you, join me in recognizing that WOT is indispensable. I appreciate that.

      Bill

  2. Liam O' Moulain

    Hi Bill,

    I totally agree with you on this. WOT, above any other add-on, is the one to have. I have others installed, but WOT is irreplaceable.

    Liam

  3. TeXaCo

    Hey Bill,

    I like your comment about the best protection is “Stop – Think – Click” because the user is the best protection but I do agree that Wot is one of the best and first add-ons to be installed.

    Thanks for the article

    TeX

    • Hey TeX,

      If we could only convince users to “Stop – Think – Click”, we would all be considerably safer. But ………..

      I’m not surprised, that as a high end user, you know the benefits of using WOT. Interesting, that to this point, it’s the high end users who recognize the need for WOT.

      Bill

  4. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    I totally agree with everyone. I’ve been using WOT for a long time now, both on Firefox and Google Chrome. It’s a fantastic addon.

    I don’t just use WOT though. After your recent review on ClearCloud DNS, I started using this too. What WOT doesn’t flag as dangerous, ClearCloud is there as backup and has done this for me on several occasions.

    Cheers

    • Hey Mal,

      Thanks Mal – good to have another high end user agree.

      You’re dead on the money re: ClearCloud DNS. It’s saved my butt a few times as well.

      Best,

      Bill

  5. g

    WOT is my #1 antivirus/malware program!

  6. hipockets

    I enjoy your site every day. Thanks for rounding up all the information that goes into it.

    About WOT: I have been using it for months, but I’m curious about how much weight the opinions of the users/members have in its ratings. I would think that this part of the rating can be easily assaulted, be it positively or negatively.

    Thanks, and “read you tomorrow”.

    • Hey Hipockets,

      Your point is well made, and recognizes the fact that no safeguards are perfect.

      This is a point that I have brought up with the developers of WOT in the past, and they assure me of the following.

      1) The reputation database is updated every 30 minutes and, they are highly responsive to any reports of incorrect ratings.

      2) Submissions from users are weighted, based on the degree of activity. In other words, not all submissions are taken at face value.

      Bill

  7. hipockets

    Off topic:

    I want to split a One TB drive into two drives, but there are three files that cannot be moved. Two are near the middle of the drive, the other at the end opposite all of the other files.

    I have not found a defragger that consolidates the non-movable files close to the other files.

    How about an article covering the ins-and-outs-and-what-you-can-run-into of partition management?

    Thanks again for your site!

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  9. srpgmt

    Hi Bill,
    Indeed WOT is exceptionally good – large database; nice method of grading.I’d like to share one other good thing about WOT. I’ve Web Security Guard which is another database cum analyzer & immediately downloaded WOT as per your advice.The point is this. I’ve got the “Web Security Guard” logo & just to it’s side the “WOT” logo too – neither logo hides the other & both databases can be used for additional layers of protection.

    Just thought I’d mention this – WOT is great & also co-exists with other databases. Therefore WOT is great as an app & also as a team player too :)

    Thanks Bill

    • Hi Srpgmt,

      Thanks for that. That’s great advice.

      I run Spyware Terminator on one of my home machines, so I’m familiar with Web Security Guard – as you point out, it’s a worthwhile addition.

      Bill

  10. Edward

    The idea is a good one, but unfortunately WOT has become a “ring of corruption” for individuals and companies to attack competitive sites or sites with opinions that differ from their own.

    I’m sure that is not the intent of the site, but they have no real safeguards to prevent fraud. If I organized 300 people to rate your blog down because I don’t like what you’re saying… too bad for you.

    • Hi Edward,

      Yes, I’m sure you’re right. The type of corrupt practices you describe, undoubtedly occur.

      In fact, there have been occasions when I have been asked to get involved in correcting ratings that have been assessed unfairly, In each case, WOT made every effort to address the issue. Not always, I must add, to the satisfaction of site owners.

      Is WOT the perfect system? No, certainly not. But, in the crazy world the Internet has become, I believe that it is the best tool of its type currently available, despite its shortcomings.

      Bill

  11. Thanks for the insights. Just wonder if it’s overkill to use WOT and ClearCloud at the same time? (Belt and suspenders.)

    I installed Microsoft Security Essentials on my PC, but I dropped all other resident protection–including Spybot Search and Destroy’s “TeaTimer.” I was afraid they would all bump into each other in the dark.

    Morty

    • Hi Morty,

      No – not at all. By using both, you will decease risk, since each application focuses on difference aspects of risk.

      I haven’t heard of any issues in running both MSE and SS&D. Since TeaTimer keeps a close eye on both process start up, and Registry Key potential changes, I’d recommend that you go back to running it.

      Bill

  12. Bill,
    We appreciate your continued support of WOT, and I thank all your readers for their comments as well. We are pleased to be helping people surf, search and shop safer on all the major browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and very soon, Opera.

    To address the issues that Edward raised: The concept of trustworthiness also encompasses trustworthiness of a website’s content and the organization behind a website. Naturally it is subjective if one trusts a site’s content for example and there is no single truth about the issue. We believe that the crowd-sourced opinions and experiences of WOT users comprise the most accurate and comprehensive evaluation about a website’s trustworthiness. However, one has to keep in mind that WOT ratings are based on user experiences and opinions and the use of one’s own judgment is always required.

    WOT has patented methods and algorithms for detecting and suppressing manipulation. This type of “corruption” has been tried before, and we nipped it in the bud quickly.

    Hipockets asked about the weight of a users’ votes. I’d like to point out that in Web of Trust a user has to earn trust in the system, and by earning this trust, a user’s rating gains more weight. A new user’s rating does not have as much weight as the rating of a user that is considered trustworthy by WOT. You can read more about this from our old blog post: http://www.mywot.com/blog/anonymity-vs-democracy This helps to prevent the effect of coordinated attacks against sites.

    If you have any more questions, please visit the WOT forum.

    Safe surfing and thanks again Bill,
    Deborah
    Web of Trust

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  14. joe sixpak

    wot is another worthless pile of KRAPP !!!!!
    too many false positives to be useful

    why not just label every site as dangerous
    and don’t go anywhere
    then you avoid 100% of the bad web pages

    not as bad as the vigilantes that label every dial up isp IP address as a spam source and blocks millions of innocent users cause some spammer dialed up on the same IP once

    at least you can ignore wot’s nonsense
    if you are on dial up you are screwed with no way to do anything – cant even afford to sue the bastards that are in europe doing it cause they have lawyers on retainer to protect their evil KRAPP!

    • There are currently 30 million rated websites in Web of Trust, and it is probable that there are sites that are misrated. Please be more specific about the false positives you have found, and make sure to add your own rating.

      If you have a question regarding WOT, please write our support at support@mywot.com

    • Hey Joe,

      I learned long ago not to argue with another persons experience – it is, after all, that person’s experience. But, I will say this – your experience runs counter to the experience of both the vast majority of WOT users, and technologists who have reviewed WOT, in its various editions.

      Personally, I have yet to find the perfect application in any field – but, in its class, WOT is as close to the perfect application as we’re ever likely to find.

      Bill

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