Browse Safely In Chrome With Web Of Trust

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web of trustThe internet counts roughly 650 million active websites. The diversity of information and services offered makes it almost impossible to tell, whether or not a specific site is safe to use. Browsers like Chrome do not contain native systems to warn you of malicious scripts or downloads. And while you can rely on your antivirus and malware scanner, once an infection has hit you, it’s a hassle. Moreover, where can you find out about the trustworthiness of an online vendor or in case previous users have been scammed?

Web of Trust, or short WOT, is a community-driven service that can help you figure out which websites to trust. WOT is available as add-on for Chrome and other browsers. It indicates website and URL ratings directly in your browser and can help you navigate the web safely. We have recently published a detailed review of WOT. This article provides a brief review and focuses specifically on the Chrome add-on.

Setting Up WOT for Chrome

WOT installs like any other browser add-on for Chrome. Simply click Download free add-on on the WOT website or click the Add To Chrome button in the Chrome Web Store. Once you have installed the add-on, the WOT icon will show in the top right corner in Chrome, in between your other installed add-ons.

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Following a successful download, WOT should automatically open a welcome page, which allows you to continue the setup. Here you can choose between three different settings: Basic, Light, and Parental Control. In the second step you can sign up to access social features, including leaving comments, personalizing your account, and participating in forum discussions. However, the sign up step is optional and you can click straight to the final step, surf safer, from where you can take a guided tour of WOT.

Using Web of Trust

The WOT icon appears in the top right of your Chrome tab and next to URLs on many websites. The color of the icon indicates the overall reputation of the respective website or URL. WOT ratings come in five different colors, from dark red (very poor) via yellow (unsatisfactory) to deep green (excellent). A yellow star on any of the rings means that the detailed scorecard contains user comments. The white ring with a question mark indicates that the respective site has not been rated, yet.

When you view a website, you can click the browser WOT icon for a rating overview. For URLs, hover over the symbol next to them and a mini overview will show. Click the overview and the detailed scorecard will open in a new tab. When you are trying to open a URL that has a very poor WOT rating, a warning will be displayed on top of the site in your browser window. You are free to choose to ignore the warning and go to the site anyways.

Customize WOT

You can customize which ratings you want to see. Right-click the WOT icon in Chrome and select Options. This will lead you to the WOT Settings page. Here you can select whether or not to view ratings for Vendor reliability, Privacy, and Child safety.

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Verdict

Web of Trust is a very useful tool to get a quick idea of how safe a URL is. However, keep in mind that all ratings are made by users and can be manipulated. Before trusting a website with personal data, be sure to view the scorecard, read the comments, and use common sense.

Have you been using WOT in Chrome and have you found it useful?

Additional Material

Enjoyed this piece about WOT? You might also enjoy the following articles:

Browse Safely With Your Own Internet Bodyguard Called WOT

The Top 8+ Security & Privacy Extensions For The Chrome Browser

8 Ways To Make Sure A Link Is Safe Before You Click It

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13 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Ibrahim Nadir

very useful article tina… but i think chrome has the functionality to stop u from malicious sites. whenever i connect to my institution’s internet it gives me a warning of that site. so i guess it has some builtin feature but still… WOT would be stronger in this case. I might put this article on my site http://www.tipnest.com and add a backlink saying its your courtesy. is that ok? or should i not? :(

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juanDM4

recomended! i have always used this one

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venkatp16

This is really a nice plugin to have. So many times this saved me from opening non-sense websites.

Tina

Same here. Makes me feel a lot better to see the green icon when opening a link that sounds strange.

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Richard Borkovec

I’ve always had this on Firefox, and even though it’s newer to join Chrome, it looks and works better. It has the same ratings, but to me, it seems it was implemented better in Chrome. Either way, it’s a great add-on to either.

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Darren Reynolds

I use wot, its a comfort zone when browsing.

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Filipe Costa

It is one of the first addons that i used in firefox, and now in chrome too.
Very happy with it.

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GrrGrrr

I have seen WOT being easily misused, so I stopped using it.

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JohanKlos

I’ve been using WOT to my satisfaction for quite a few months now.
What you might also mention is that WOT is not just for Chrome, but also for:
Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera. It also offers a Bookmarklet for other browsers (like Maxton).
See here: http://www.mywot.com/en/download

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Jonas Brock-Hanash

This is kind of old, but I am going to reply anyway.
The concept of WOT is awesome, but sadly it turned into something similar to free-to-play or pay-to-win.
Websites can pay to get their trust up, which I find really bad.

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najla

THANK YOUThis is really a nice plugin to have.

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minnie

Unfortunately beside the many complaints they received, wot did not improve and keeps affecting thousands of honest, legitimate and appreciated businesses. In my opinion they sold themselves and their honest, if any, to the cause of making money. i suspect a sort of blackmailing scheme that forces websites owners to “purchase” a good reputation from them. As we, more or less, have been invited to do.

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Rebecca Hersh

I use WOT a lot and really like it, but I have yet to find a truly unsafe website where WOT helps me out. I guess it would be more useful for people who download a lot.

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