Wednesday, June 19, 2013

WOT (Web Of Trust)

When talking about threats on the Internet (virus, malware, spam, phishing, etc.), there's always a chance that the reader will either be intimidated and frightened beyond what the author meant and a chance that the reader will disregard what is said as unrealistic or intended to generate fear. The subject of today's article, WOT, is intended to prevent you from stumbling on a malicious website which could send a virus to your PC and take control of it. Hopefully, readers of this article will find the correct balance when taking in this information and I'm open to discussing it if need be.

So what is WOT?

WOT is an add-on (or plugin) for web browsers. When you open a page in your browser, there might be hyperlinks leading to third-party websites. WOT will identify the names of these websites and compare them with its database. If these websites are known as legitimate websites with legitimate content, WOT will display a green circle next to the link. If these websites are known as malevolent websites, distributing viruses, or spreading false information, or abusing people's gullibility to get money from them, or harboring adult content (because many people want to avoid it), it will display a red circle. And if the websites are somewhere in between... a yellow circle will be displayed.

Here's what a Google Search looks like when WOT is installed:

 The red arrows point to the WOT markers. 1 marker for the current page and 1 marker for each link

 If you noticed the red marker on the previous image, here's more details that appear upon bringing your mouse over the marker:

 And if you land on a website with a poor reputation, WOT notifies you. Just in case you were about to divulge your credit card number to a "fake" website.

Other questions:

You might have plenty more questions like "How do the ratings work?" or "how do I know that I can trust WOT?".

The short answer is: "It works well and you can trust WOT".

The more frustrating but more accurate answer is: read WOT's Frequently Asked Questions where these are answered in more detail. Going over these questions would take more time than I care to spend and it would extend the length of this article more than many people care to read.

Extra things I want to mention anyway:

When you've brought your mouse over one of the circles to see more details of a website rating (see images above), you can notice a small blue "i" letter in the top right corner of the WOT contextual menu. If you click on this "i", which stands for "information", you access to more information about that website, and comments that tell you what is wrong with it.

Something equivalent is accessible for the current website by clicking the circle of the current website and clicking "view scorecard for rating details".


WOT is indispensable. If I had to get rid of my browsers' add-ons and could keep only 1 of them, it would be WOT. Get it! Use it! Learn the extra details about how to use it! Tell other people about it!

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