Although all common web browsers have some kind of web reputation checking built in, none of those is giving any security information while you are searching for something on Google, Yahoo, Bing or other search engines.
Furthermore, with URL shortening services such as bit.ly, you do not really know whether the link you're clicking on Facebook or Twitter is safe.
Fortunately, there is a good and free program that handles all this mess - Web Of Trust Safe Surfing Tool (aka WOT Safe Browsing Tool or just WOT). It allows blocking malicious sites, provides protection on major search engines, shows ratings for links on Facebook and Twitter (including shortened links), and it works in all major web browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera) and operating systems (Microsoft Windows, Linux and OS X).
You can even synchronize your WOT preferences across different browsers and devices if you sign in to your WOT account - for example, you will then have the same settings both in Internet Explorer at work and Mozilla Firefox at home.
You do need to install WOT Safe Surfing Tool for every browser you have installed on your PC or device.
WOT Safe Surfing Tool is a third-party extension for Internet Explorer, so please make sure you have Enable third-party browser extensions setting enabled in Advanced tab of Internet Options.
To verify that, press Alt key once, open Tools menu in Internet Explorer and click Internet Options. Then click Advanced tab above and find the Enable third-party browser extensions check box. Make sure this box is checked. If not, check it, click OK to close Internet Options and restart Internet Explorer (close all open Internet Explorer windows!).
The Modern UI/Metro Internet Explorer 10 and 11 apps in Windows 8 and 8.1 do not support any extensions or toolbars, so WOT Safe Surfing Tool will not work there.
Please note: having WOT installed makes your web browsing safer, but you still need to use anti-virus software to be thoroughly protected.
Go to Web Of Trust download page. Let's make it clear - the web site address is mywot.com, not wot.com.
Your browser is automatically detected, click the orange Free download button on the right.
Please click the link with the name of your web browser for detailed instructions on downloading and installing WOT Safe Surfing Tool.Click here to show or hide WOT install instructions for Apple Safari
Click Open in the Do you want to open or save this file? dialog.
In the Are you sure you want to install the extension "WOT" dialog, click Install.
After this, WOT is ready to rock.
Click Add in the Add to Chrome dialog.
WOT is now ready to rock.
Internet Explorer 8 users should click Run in the File Download - Security Warning dialog.
Internet Explorer 9, 10 and 11 users will see a Notification Bar at the bottom of window. Click Run.
After the download is complete, Internet Explorer 8 will display another dialog. As long as Publisher is "Against Intuition Oy" or "WOT Services Oy", it is safe to click Run.
WOT for Internet Explorer Setup will open. Click to check the I accept the terms in the License Agreement box. Then click Install. (Wow, no bunch of Next buttons? Cool!)
Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1 users will encounter a soft and caring touch of User Account Control. As long as the Verified publisher is "Against Intuition Oy" or "WOT Services Oy", it is safe to click Continue or Yes to proceed with WOT installation.
Click Finish after the setup is complete.
WOT Safe Surfing Tool will open a new Internet Explorer window or tab after this. For Internet Explorer 8 users, the WOT add-on is now ready to rock, but Internet Explorer 9, 10 and 11 users must click Enable in the "The 'WOT' add-on from 'WOT Services Oy' is ready for use" notification to allow the Safe Surfing Tool to run.
Firefox will open warning dialog under Address Bar (aka Awesome Bar). Click Allow.
After downloading the WOT add-on, Firefox will open a Software Installation dialog. Click Install Now (the button becomes clickable after 3 seconds).
Firefox will then notify you that a restart is required to complete WOT installation. Click Restart Now to close and re-open Firefox.
After Firefox restart, WOT is ready to rock.
You will be redirected to Opera extensions page. Click Add to Opera.
After this, WOT is ready to rock.
The first time WOT Safe Surfing Tool starts with your Internet browser, you will see protection settings page. The default selection (Basic) is best, so click Continue.
Next, WOT offers to sign up. You need to register WOT only if you want to synchronize settings across different browsers and computers/devices. Synchronization will work between all supported web browsers and and operating systems - so you can keep your settings in sync between Internet Explorer on Windows, Opera on Linux and Firefox on Mac, for example.
WOT will still work fine if you do not register or sign up.
If you do not need synchronization, just close the browser tab.
If you do, fill in the required data, tick the WOT Terms of Service and Privacy Statement check box and click Save.
Those already registered can click the log in link on the top. Please do not log in to your WOT profile or register with WOT on public computers (e.g. PC-s at internet cafés) as this can reveal your sensitive information to other people!
In case you want to register or sign in later, click WOT icon in browser's toolbar and then click Settings or My profile.
To configure WOT, click its icon on browser's toolbar and click Settings.
If you're not logged in to your WOT account, Sign in and Sign up buttons are available on the top right.
In the Warning notifications section, make sure that Normal (Recommended) is selected.
So far, only Mozilla Firefox allows completely blocking web sites with bad rating: select Warning pop-up and blocking of sites with poor reputation for Warning type.
In the Reputation icons next to links section, leave Always (Recommended) selected.
Blocking also means that you'll see the Loading website page before a web page or warning pop-up appears. This is normal in Firefox.
Here's an example of a different browser, with user signed in to WOT account.
Click Show advanced settings.
Make sure that Show website reputation for search results in a pop-up window and Re-create the toolbar button if it gets remove (recommended) options are ticked. The latter one is an additional protection from malware that tries to hide or disable WOT Safe Surfing Tool.
Those who have and use a WOT account should also tick the Enable cookies to automatically log-in to mywot.com account (recommended) check box. People who are very concerned about their privacy, can clear this item and sign out of mywot.com.
In the Select when ratings are shown section, verify that all available items are checked.
After this, configuration is complete and you can safely close the browser tab.
The ring-shaped WOT icon in web browser reveals ratings for the web page you are viewing. Color lightness indicates the total number of votes already given: lighter colors mean that a few people have rated the site, and darker colors represent a large number of votes.
- Green means that everything's fine. If the icon also has an exclamation mark on it, you have not yet configured WOT Safe Surfing Tool.
- Yellow means that there are some problems. Click the icon for additional details.
- Red means that the web site is unsafe. Leave now!
- Question mark means that the web site has not been rated yet. It might be a brand new web page, but stay cautious about such pages, especially if the page offers some breaking news, requires entering personal information, or promises hot pictures and downloads.
- Internet Explorer only: exclamation mark means that there is an update to WOT Safe Surfing Tool available. Click the icon and then click the New version available - click to update button. Other web browsers are able to update WOT automatically.
Apple Safari users do not see colored ratings in browser's toolbar (but a colored one is displayed for a few seconds on top left of web page). WOT icon stays gray all the time, but the rating is displayed with an additional mark:
- Check mark means that the web page is safe.
- Exclamation mark means that the web page either has some problems or is unsafe. Click the icon for additional details.
- Question mark means that the web page has not yet been rated. Stay cautious here.
In case a web page you opened is not safe, you will see the Warning! pop-up with WOT ratings and issues that have been identified.
You should click Go Back immediately.
If you turned on the blocking option in Mozilla Firefox, a Blocked pop-up appears instead.
If you search for something on major search engines, you will see WOT Safe Surfing Tool rating for each result. It is recommended to use only links with green icons. If you stop your mouse pointer on WOT rating, you will see the rating overview and identified issues.
The number of people icons denotes the number of votes - the more dark icons, the more votes.
WOT also displays ratings for links on Facebook and Twitter.
Here is a Facebook example:
WOT Safe Surfing Tool ratings: viewing others' opinions and submitting your own
Clicking WOT Safe Surfing Tool icon opens a rating/reputation overview for the currently open site or web page.
Until you provide your own opinion for the site or page, 'WOT users say' is displayed. Note that both My rating sliders are on the very right then.
More dark gray people icons in Trustworthiness and Child safety sections means that more votes have been given.
To see all details and comments about the site, click the View details and comments link.
After you've rated a site, you'll see your own opinion. There is a change link on the right if you need to modify your rating later.
You can add your own rating for a web site or page using the How much do you trust this site and How suitable is the web site for children slider bars: dark green on the right means very safe and dark red on the left means extremely dangerous.
Next, tick at least one check box in Positive / Neutral, Questionable or Negative tabs. You do not have to select more than one here. Description for an option is displayed in the light blue box.
Click Save to submit your rating. You can also use Add comment button to say something more about the site or page at mywot.com; or click the trash can icon on the bottom left to delete your WOT rating.
Click OK after sharing your experience.