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WOT: Web of Trust Browser Extension
By: Barzan 'Tony' Antal
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    Table of Contents:
  • WOT: Web of Trust Browser Extension
  • WOT in Detail
  • More about WOT
  • Final Thoughts

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    WOT: Web of Trust Browser Extension - More about WOT

    (Page 3 of 4 )

    Now that we have described the way WOT works, its inner mechanism, and that the reputation database is community-driven—meaning it depends on the users—we also need to discuss a certain dilemma that may come up. What happens if a specific user, or a group of users, deliberately want to manipulate the ratings of particular sites?

    Thankfully, the WOT development team has taken this into account. In a nutshell, the WOT system tracks each user’s behavior, and only if their behavior passes the verification algorithms are his or her ratings “accepted.” The system cannot be fooled because the system takes into account whether users can or cannot be trusted. For example, the more a user rates sites accordingly, the more trustworthy he or she becomes.

    On the top of this, in terms of phishing and online scams, WOT is in partnership with phishing listing sites such as PhishTank, which has the most developed database for helping users to avoid phishing sites. This way, WOT can “grab” these listings automatically and make their users aware of the latest online threats as well—way before some WOT community member actually falls into the trap and reports it.

    Furthermore, if you truly think that the rating of a website has been manipulated or negatively miss-rated (i.e. blacklisted), then you can contact the WOT staff to investigate the situation. But usually the right thing to do is rate it yourself, leave a comment explaining what’s up, and be done with it. That’s what you ought to do for the community. Doing that, you are contributing to a great cause.

    Along with the exponential growth of the WOT database, the experts behind WOT are closely watching the status of the Internet, and frequently creating statistics about the dangerous websites, their categories, and also the increase of online attacks (such as phishing, scams, malware, adware, spam, exploits, etc.).

    At the beginning of this year, around February 2008, dangerous websites could be categorized as seen in the pie-chart below: adult content (28%), software (27%), entertainment (16%), and other (29%). Now here’s the shocker: according to some newer statistics (more entries and ratings), in June 2008, the red light district -- the adult content slice -- composed up to 31% of the dangerous websites. And it’s still increasing.

    At that moment around 4.2 million pornographic websites were found on the Web with more than 420 million web pages containing adult content. Apparently, 11 new porn-related websites are created every hour, and about 34% of Internet users are exposed to unsolicited pornographic material. Unfortunately, most of the online threats are coming from, or are related, to porn. That’s how they try to “draw” people into traps. Identity fraud, phishing, unwanted malware and spam are just examples.

    With the help of the Web of Trust add-on, you can protect your family and yourself from dangerous websites. Needless to say, what WOT delivers is free information. It is totally up to you what you do with it. If somebody warns you of a possible scam and you still fall for it, then who is to blame? On the other hand, the same goes for customer experiences from online shopping sites, and many, many others.

    And just to clarify something, WOT can also be useful when and if the online red light districts are of interest to you, too. You can rely on the ratings that tell you whether the site, online shop, or service is trustworthy, reliable (as a vendor), and protects your privacy. If the above criteria are met but the site is not child safe, you as an adult can benefit from the Web of Trust. On top of all, it’s going to protect your family if necessary.

    As a final bonus, WOT also provides a user-interface for colorblind people!

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