You may have noticed that recently, every external link on our site has a small coloured circle. This is because we have added a script supplied by WOT (Web of Trust – www.mywot.com) which allows a community group of users to rate sites based on several criteria with the ultimate aim of protecting yourself online from malicious sites.
WOT is available as a plugin for several browsers and provides a visual guide to help you make better informed choices of what websites to visit. WOT is also completely free to use. Anyone using McAfee SiteAdvisor will already be familiar with the style of coloured ratings for websites.
What do the colours mean?
Red – This usually means the site is considered dangerous, it could be that the site is known for carrying out frauds, scams, phishing, or downloading viruses or other malicious content. Usually it is best to avoid red sites.
Yellow – Yellow is given to sites that have an unsatisfactory reputation for a variety of reasons and you should only visit the site if you trust the site.
Green – Green is usually awarded to sites that are free from malicious content and have an excellent reputation.
Grey – Grey is given to every website until it has enough ratings for a colour, a site may be grey because it is new or not enough people have left any ratings
Can I trust the ratings?
Yes and no, this is not a 100% solution and should not be used to replace any anti-spyware programs you have or anti-virus programs, it is merely a visual guide (which in most cases are accurate) to allow you to make a better informed choice of what websites to visit.
How does it work?
You can install WOT as a plugin for your browser and it will then give you a visual guide to any links from any major search engine. Once installed you can also create an account so you can also rate sites based on your experience of a website and further help protect the WOT community from malicious sites.
Users rate sites based on Trustworthiness, Vendor Reliability, Privacy and Child Safety and can leave additional comments to support their rating or warn other users.
McAfee SiteAdvisor vs WOT
WOT is a more accurate tool because the ratings are updated on a daily basis where as with SiteAdvisor, the ratings can be vastly out of date by up to a year. It has been well documented online that some sites that have received a red rating by SiteAdvisor will retain the red rating for up to a year even if they have cleaned up their site.
Also a new threat by spammers and those that wish to distribute malicious content is to wait until their site has a green rating from SiteAdvisor, before delivering malicious content, as they are secure in the knowledge that SiteAdvisor will not rate them again for another year, so people will falsely believe they are safe with a green rated site by SiteAdvisor.
If a site is rated green by WOT yet you get a virus, leave a message on the WOT Forum for others to check and if the virus (or other malicious content) originated from the green site, the coloured rating will change in just a few days to reflect the new development. This also works in reverse, if a site has been rated red, a webmaster has the opportunity to clean their site and get it tested and verified by the WOT community for a green rating.
Where can I get further information or install WOT?
If you want to learn more about WOT – Web of Trust or want to try the plugin for yourself (highly recommended) you can visit the official WOT website at www.mywot.com
WOT is an excellent tool to allow you to surf the web more securely and protect yourself from online scams and malicious content.
If anyone knows of any other tools to help others protect themselves online and keep their data safe, please leave us details in the comments below.