The bad guys don't like the Web of Trust at all, and they are always trying to divert browsers from going to the real Web of Trust site.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


Free service, Web of Trust, protects you from suspicious sites

Oct. 2, 2011

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2011, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2011, The Post-Standard

You learn pretty quickly that the Web is not a place you can trust.

There are fake websites that try to lure you away from your money, malicious websites that plant spying software on your Windows PC and rogue websites that offer safe-looking downloads while packing viruses into the files.

What's a harried computer user to do?

The answer: Use a service designed to warm you whenever your browser stumbles in dangerous territory. The best known and most respected service of this kind is the Web of Trust. It's free and available for all major Web browsers -- Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Chrome -- and the three kinds of personal computers -- Windows PCs, Macs and Linux PCs.

The Web of Trust rates websites on the basis of reports from millions of users. This practically guarantees that grudge reports and mistaken judgments are balanced out by accurate ratings. WOT, as it is often called, gives all websites a chance to clear their names if mistakes in ratings make it through the vetting process.

The Web of Trust places red circles next to any links to suspicious sites and will, optionally, place green circles next to safe ones. (I turn on the "green" option. It's nice to know what sites I go to have been checked out and found OK.)

WOT operates through a small program that runs with your Web browser, called a plug-in or extension. It installs itself without any geeky manipulations.

To get the Web of Trust add-on for your browser, go to mywot.com.

As you can imagine, the bad guys don't like the Web of Trust at all, and they are always trying to divert browsers from going to the real Web of Trust site. Be sure you go to the site listed here; don't just use a Google search for "Web of Trust." (I experimented and found many bogus results one day while I was checking to see if the bad guys -- the cretins who can't find honest employment -- were trying to mess things up, and they were indeed.)

You probably already know that some companies that make Internet safety software, such as McAfee, have what they say are similar services. Browsers sometimes even have warning software built in.

But stay clear of stuff like that. There's no way of knowing if it is reliable. The Web of Trust is a much better deal.

A final note: Sadly, if you search hard enough, you'll find incredible assertions about the honesty -- the lack of honesty, to be clear -- of the Web of Trust. These claims are ridiculous. People with nothing better to do and a turnip for a brain can invent anything they want. Ignore them.