WOT: Web of Trust

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Against Intuition, Inc.
Founded July 2006
Headquarters File:Flag of Finland.svg Helsinki, Finland
Industry Internet Security
Website www.mywot.com

Web of Trust (WOT) is a community-based safe surfing tool that uses an intuitive traffic-light style rating system to help Internet users stay safe as they search, browse, and shop online. The WOT security add-on provides safety ratings to search results when using Google, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, and other popular sites, helping people protect their computers and personal information. Web site ratings are continuously updated by millions of members of the WOT community and from numerous trusted sources, such as phishing site listings. The free Internet security add-on works with Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers, and a beta edition for Google Chrome is available.

Contents

Company history

Based in Helsinki, Finland, WOT Services Ltd. (formally known as Against Intuition, Inc.)[1] was founded in 2006 by two graduate students: Timo Ala-Kleemola and Sami Tolvanen. WOT Services focuses on developing and providing software and services for the WOT community and on promoting the community's goals. In February, 2009, Michael "Monty" Widenius, founder of MySQL and a guru for the global open source movement invested in WOT. The Finnish Industry Investment Ltd. is an existing shareholder. [2] [3]

How it works

WOT allows users to add their input on the trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy and/or child safety of a website based on their experience with the site and/or services they offer. The rating scale ranges from poor to excellent and is algorithmic. WOT calculates the reputation of a website through a combination of user ratings and data from trusted sources such as Panda Security, PhishTank, TRUSTe and hpHosts.

Browser integration

File:WOT Rating Window .jpg
WOT Rating Window

WOT is available as an add-on for Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox and as a bookmarklet for Opera, Google Chrome, Safari, and any other browser supporting JavaScript and bookmarks/favorites. After downloading the addon to the user's browser, the WOT logo appears in the web browser's navigation toolbar. When the user navigates to a website, the color of the logo will change color based on a traffic light system (Green, Light Green, Yellow, Light Red or Red); depending on the reputation of a website determined by its users.[4]

Availability

The add-on works with Firefox on all platforms and Internet Explorer on Windows. The user interface comes in 14 languages and a colorblind accessible version.[5] The add-on also comes as a bookmarklet (as previously mentioned) for browsers that don't support add-ons the way Firefox can.

Rating components

WOT uses four categories to determine what they consider to be the reputation of a website.

  • Trustworthiness - The "poor" rating indicates Internet scams like lottery or identity theft risks, credit card fraud, phishing, spyware, adware, malware or computer viruses. The site may obtain a rating of "unsatisfactory" if it contains unnecessary advertisements, excessive pop-ups, or content that makes the browser crash.[6](Trust may also refer to the believability of the content.)
  • Vendor reliability - Rates whether the site is safe for buying and selling, or for business transactions in general. A "poor" rating indicates possible fraud or a bad shopping experience.
  • Privacy - Tells whether the site owner can be trusted, if it is safe to supply an email address, and download files. A "poor" rating indicates spam, adware, or spyware.
  • Child safety - Indicates whether the site contains age-inappropriate material of a sexual, hateful, or violent nature, or content that encourages dangerous or illegal activities.

Rating symbols

After using a popular search engine like Google, a tiny icon appears beside the link—green for go, yellow for proceed with caution and red for stop. WOT warns about sites that can damage files on your computer, or cause other trouble. WOT ratings are shown on Google, Yahoo!, Gmail, Wikipedia, Digg, del.icio.us, AOL, Bing and other popular sites.[7]

Website security scorecard

File:WOT V3 Scorecard1.jpg
WOT Website Reputation Scorecard

The Website Security Scorecard was introduced with WOT version 3. The scorecard shows data on popularity, a link to the WHOIS domain entry, detailed rating information with graphics, and a section for user comments and references. The references come from negative sources such as phishing, malware, and spam blacklists or positive sources like del.icio.us, Digg, or Wikipedia.

Rating quality

Ratings in WOT measure the overall trust users have in a website in addition to its safety.[citation needed] Therefore, a website that might technically be safe to visit can still have a bad rating if large enough portion of the community has indicated lack of trust for the site.

Ultimately, the accuracy of the resulting ratings depends on the accuracy of the submitted opinions. User participation might also lead to biased ratings, especially if only a few users have rated a website. Concerns have been raised that some WOT users may not be knowledgeable enough about the personal data management of a website to provide accurate ratings concerning privacy, for example, which could lead to good sites being rated bad and vice-versa.[8] These issues have, in part, been mitigated by using Bayesian-based statistical analysis on the ratings and automatically giving the ratings of trusted users a greater influence.[9]

Manipulation

There is a potential for users trying to manipulate the system, because ratings can be submitted on the add-on without having to first register an account.[10] WOT tries to prevent manipulation by assigning a pseudonym for each add-on and requiring strong authentication for each rating. Together with the meritocratic trust system[11], this aims to make gaming the system more difficult. The rating system also uses algorithms that monitor for abnormal rating behavior if the architectural measures alone fail to stop manipulation attempts, however, system manipulation is still theoretically possible, and is the source of criticism toward WOT. [12]

Privacy

WOT has a strict privacy policy, and they claim to follow it to the letter. The website states, "The WOT add-on collects information only for computing website ratings, performing statistical analysis, and preventing abuse of our service. Any information that is no longer needed for these purposes is deleted."[13]

Recognition

  • PC Magazine The WOT add-on is reviewed by Neil Rubenking [14]
  • Softpedia The WOT add-on is reviewed by Ionut Ilascu, Editor, Software Reviews[15]
  • BNET WOT is reviewed in BNET's Business Hacks by Rick Broida[16]
  • cnet.com WOT for Internet Explorer 20090414 received a 5 star rating based on a June 10, 2009 review by CNET staff.[17]
  • PC Welt The WOT add-on is recommended German PC Welt(a PC World publication) [18]
  • Gizmo Top Pick for Best Freeware Internet Security Check WOT won the top pick award at Gizmo's Best Freeware Internet Security Check[19]
  • Recommended at Firefox Add-ons WOT is on the recommended add-ons rotation since July 2008 at Mozilla's Firefox Add-ons website.[20]

References

  1. "Web of Trust blog posting". http://www.mywot.com/en/blog/172-the-wot-homepage-has-a-new-look. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  2. "Web of Trust press release". http://www.mywot.com/en/press/michael-widenius-founder-of-mysql-invests-in-wot-web-of-trust. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  3. "Monty Says blog". http://monty-says.blogspot.com/2009/02/life-goes-on-and-making-internet-more.html. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  4. "Web of Trust review". http://www.webuser.co.uk/products/WOT_review_4543.html. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  5. "Web of Trust support". http://www.mywot.com/support/faq#colorblindversion. Retrieved 2008-05-19. 
  6. "Web of Trust support". http://www.mywot.com/support/ratings. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  7. "Web of Trust settings". http://www.mywot.com/settings/en-US/firefox/20090414#searching. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  8. "Keep yourself safe from Internet scams". http://wot.en.softonic.com/. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  9. "Differing opinions". http://www.mywot.com/en/blog/differing-opinions. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  10. "Web of Trust is the Robert De Niro of Reputation Sites". http://mashable.com/2007/12/04/web-of-trust/. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  11. "Anonymity vs. democracy". http://www.mywot.com/en/blog/anonymity-vs-democracy. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  12. "Manipulation". http://www.mywot.com/en/blog/manipulation. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  13. "WOT Privacy Policy". http://www.mywot.com/en/privacy/privacy_policy. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  14. "Web of Trust". http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2351536,00.asp. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  15. "Keep Away from Risky Websites". http://www.softpedia.com/reviews/windows/WOT-Web-of-Trust-Review-118246.shtml. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  16. "Avoid Unsafe Web Sites with Web of Trust". http://blogs.bnet.com/businesstips/?p=4471. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  17. "Editor's review of WOT for Internet Explorer - "Internet danger meter"". http://download.cnet.com/WOT-for-Internet-Explorer/3000-12512_4-10777505.html?tag=mncol#editorsreview. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  18. "Diese Linkscanner warnen vor bösen Webseiten". http://www.pcwelt.de/start/software_os/online/praxis/198140/diese_linkscanner_warnen_vor_boesen_webseiten_update/index3.html. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  19. "Gizmo's - Best Internet Safety Freeware". http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/best-internet-safety-check.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  20. "Firefox Add-ons: Recommended Add-ons". https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/recommended. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 

See also

External links

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