Safe Surfing with WOT

WOT (Web of Trust) is a plugin I use to make sure that the websites I visit are safe. If you use Internet Explorer or Firefox, this is one plugin that you have to install.

Cloudeight Internet recently did a comparison of four different programs that rate the safety of websites, including Norton Safe Web, SiteAdvisor, Link Scanner and Web of Trust. You can see the results here. WOT would have protected you from every one of those sites. Those are sites which they felt are scams or which offer free downloads which they consider to be adware, spyware or malware. (Thank you Free PC Security)

WOT just release it’s latest version 3.5.  From WOT’s website, “Our new version adds protection levels to suit your every need – at every time in your life. Single adults can enjoy “Light” protection while surfing anywhere on the web. You get only a simple alert if you surf to a page with a poor reputation. Parents with young children can choose the “Parental Control” mode which blocks access to dangerous sites like pornography or hate sites.

WOT provides four convenient one-click protection options that can be changed instantly depending on the situation:

  • Light protection suits experienced Web users
  • Basic protection guides the user by giving warnings
  • Maximum Safety stops dangerous Web sites from loading
  • Parental Control blocks access to Web sites with a poor child safety rating and no rating at all”

Firefox users have a new shortcut to the WOT scorecard. Right click on any link and the menu includes the option to see the WOT scorecard. This is especially useful when you are surfing in a site with links but no WOT ratings.

After installing WOT, when you perform a search, the list of links will have a green, yellow, red or clear circle after them. Green means safe, yellow is warning, red is stay out and clear means it hasn’t been rated so you’re on your own. If you hover your cursor over the circle, it’ll further breakdown the ratings. At this time when seemingly innocent websites can wreak havoc on your computer, it’s critically important to have a way of knowing what’s safe and what’s not. With Web Of Trust, you have the knowledge.

You can download the Internet Explorer Plugin here and the Firefox plugin here

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Conficker – The Day After

So, was Conficker the bust that some say it is? Possibly, but not because of how it was written. I think what caused it not to be as explosive as it could have been was due to it’s own initial success. When the first couple of versions came out at the end of last year and beginning of this year, it quickly snagged millions of computers and turned them into slaves, or bots. Granted, many of those were from places where unauthorized versions of Windows are being used, and therefore no security updates, but it grew fast enough that Microsoft was forced to put out an emergency patch to prevent infection (Conficker used an open hole in the Windows operating system to sneak onto a computer).

Anyhow, when Conficker hit so many millions of computers, people were alerted to the worm and made sure their computers were patched and their anti-virus programs were updated. Once that happened, it effectively shut the Conficker worm out of their computers.

As for the security upgrades, for some reason, Microsoft decided to set the default for automatic updates for 3:00 a.m. Now, a lot of desktop computers may stay on overnight, but not many laptops do. For those, it’s critically important that the updates get done. Read my post – Windows Updates – Which to Install? to see how to change these settings and how to securely update your computer.

So, what about Conficker. Well, it can still take off and do damage, but it can only do damage if it’s on your computer and if your computer is patched and protected, most likely it’s not there. And, if you’re running Vista, then it really isn’t there, but it’s still very important for you to get the Microsoft Security Patches because if it’s not Conficker, there will always be another one attacking the holes.