The Internet is one kickass place – survey after survey continue to show that cybercriminals are picking off unaware/undereducated users, as if they were shooting fish in a barrel.
It’s hardly surprising then, that an enormous industry (no, not big, not large – but, enormous) has developed, based on the principal that technology can act as a counterfoil to the most nefarious cyber criminal schemes. Criminal schemes which are, after all, technology driven.
I’ll leave it to you to decide if this has been an effective solution.
No matter the side you come down on regarding this complex issue, dancing around naked (so to speak ) on the Internet – that is, without adequate Browser protection, is akin to fumbling and stumbling through the toughest neighborhood in your area – after dark.
Internet security starts with the Web Browser (it does not end there – but, one step at a time), and WOT (Web of Trust, which passed the 30 million user mark yesterday – January 9, 2011), substantially reduces the risk exposure that comes with wandering through the increasingly risky neighborhood that the Internet has become.
Based on the way that I surf the Web, there’s no contest as to which of the 17 add-ons I have installed on Firefox, is most important to my piece of mind. The hands down winner – the single most important add-on for my style of surfing is WOT (Web of Trust).
Sure, that’s a pretty bold statement – but, since 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, I’ll go with it.
If you’re not yet a WOT user, read the following in-depth review – you may reconsider.
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!
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 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 35 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.
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:
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.
11 responses to “Way To Go WOT! – Now Protecting 30 Million Users”
Hi, Bill —
A few months ago you wrote about BufferZone, a program that can isolate applications from the operating system and thereby prevent malware from attacking the operating system.
I installed it, and since then Firefox runs inside of it. BUT — BufferZone will not allow any of the extensions, including WOT, to load. If I open Firefox outside of BufferZone, the extensions load normally.
I’ve posted the problem on the BufferZone forum and received an explanation but not a solution. Since there are several extensions that I use frequently, and since WOT is very informative about the safety of websites, I’m leaning toward disabling BufferZone and only loading it (and restarting Firefox) when I’m visiting a site that might be dangerous. Since WOT would be active, and since I’m a tad** conservative in my surfing, this would not be often and I would have a relatively high degree of safety.
I know you use Firefox. Do you also use BufferZone? If so, how do you get the extensions to load?
How does Bufferzone compare to Sandboxie?
By the way, BufferZone Pro is now free.
** Down here in the south, the scientific definition of “tad” is “a little bit”. :>)
Other than running BufferZone in several 30 day chunks for testing – I don’t run with it. But, I did take note of the issue you describe.
Installing the extensions while inside BufferZone should address the issue since the application will save a virtual image. Be careful when running a cleanup application though – it’s very easy to “cleanup” BufferZone’s virtual images. Result – back to square one.
Sandboxie is, in my view, a superior program since it allows much more flexibility for experienced users.
I had tried to install extensions while in BufferZone. The extension downloaded o.k., and, as is normal, the message popped up about restarting Firefox being necessary to load the extension. Restarting did not help.
Your comments confirmed my plan to disable BufferZone. Now that I’ve thought more about it, using it was overkill. Plus, it did increase downloads time, since it had to search for the virtual directory.
Out of curiosity, though, I will try out Sandboxie.
I think that’s a good move on your part. You’re no “babe in the woods” – you’re on top of things from the get-go. 🙂
Wouldn’t mind hearing your views on Sandboxie when you have a chance. Incidentally, Sandboxie was the 3rd most downloaded app through here in 2011.
I have used WOT before I use Internet explorer 9 but recently I have discovered and I am using finjan M86 which works in real time and not on user feedback, take a look at it.
Thanks for the tip – I’ll check this out.
My WP blog was already rated safe by WOT but when I used my own domain name again which is still safely hosted now by WP, I have to wait again until someone rates it as safe. Netizens should at least not believe that a site is unsafe just because the site is still unrated by Wot. More power to you and WOT.
Here’s what to do – post this issue on the WOT forum. Some pretty sharp people there – they’ll work this our for you.
BTW, really like your new layout.
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Hey nice one Bill ,I have to write a post on WOT but my stars at Tarot says not to write any controversial thing till april lolz its a good addon but I guess has bugs in it still collecting the screen shots for the post your post would be a good reference to show the positive side of WOT
LOL! Same here – Lady Luck sez relax, take it easy – there’ll be plenty of time for controversy later in the year. 🙂