These days most browsers offer some form of basic protection against clicking a fake link and visiting phishing websites (facsimiles of genuine sites that attempt to trick users into giving up sensitive personal information like passwords and credit-card details). But they don’t offer much else protection against other dangerous sites.
This is where Web of Trust (WOT) comes in: it maintains a database of websites, rating them for safety, privacy and security and giving you a second opinion about whether or not a particular site is safe to shop at, share personal details with or even simply visit.
WOT has just launched a major new version of its plug-in for most major browsers. Web of Trust for Google Chrome 2.0 and Web of Trust for Safari 2.0 recently joined Web of Trust for Firefox in providing a number of major new features to improve the plug-in’s reputation for delivering accurate site ratings based on negative user feedback.
Once installed, you’ll notice a new WOT button appear next to the browser’s address bar. You’ll also see this icon appear in selected search engine results too. The site is rated by color: green is the safest, while red is the most dangerous. A grey icon indicates the site has not yet been reviewed, so should naturally be treated with caution if it’s unknown.
There’s also a fail-safe mechanism in WOT, whereby attempting to access a red-rated site results in a pop-up warning — this is useful where you access the site by clicking a link or via another program.
Aside from delivering a new look to its ratings, WOT 2.0 now attempts to better educate its users when reviewing sites to provide less misleading reviews. Users are now expected to choose at least one category to support their ratings, with choices from positive/neutral, questionable, negative and opinions made by other users. Category ratings remain private unless the user also posts a comment to support their rating.
The ratings components have also been simplified to include just two basic ratings: overall trustworthiness and child safety. While depreciated, the vendor reliability and privacy components have been incorporated into the categories.
The reasoning behind these changes is that this will help other users make a more informed decision about whether or not to visit a specific site. To support this, the ratings window has also been overhauled so users can submit a rating and — if applicable — comments without having to visit the site’s scorecard first.
All of these changes also show up in a new warning screen and search pop-up, where more information about the site is now displayed, revealing key categories next to the overall rating and again saving the user a trip to the scorecard.
Web of Trust for Google Chrome 2.0, Web of Trust for Safari 2.0 and Web of Trust for Firefox are all available now as a free downloads for Windows, Mac and Linux users running the appropriate browser.