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WOT update promises extra protection for web surfers

22 March 2011, Nick Peers

Web of Trust Services has released a major new update to its free WOT browser plug-in, which provides security and privacy ratings for websites. The plug-in now adds ratings for web links that have been shortened using services like bit.ly as well as links displayed on the Facebook and Twitter websites.

The new features are available now to both Apple Safari and Google Chrome users with version 1.1 of the plug-in, while Firefox users can install a beta version of the plug-in ahead of its final release within the next few weeks, when the updates should also be made available to Opera and Internet Explorer users.

WOT rates websites for both security and privacy, based on community feedback from millions of WOT users worldwide. These ratings are displayed as clearly visible icons using traffic light colours to help identify safe sites (rated green) from potentially dangerous and hazardous ones (amber or red). The current’s site rating is displayed in the browser toolbar – if a site is rated red, access will be temporarily blocked and the user clearly warned that the site in question is considered dangerous. This can be overridden by the user, but provides an additional layer of security by helping to steer users away from malware-infested and fake websites.

Past versions of WOT also provide ratings for major search engine results, allowing the user to see a site’s rating before attempting to visit it. The latest release extends this functionality to provide ratings for links displayed in Facebook and Twitter, as well as links that have been shortened using services such as bit.ly or t.co.

WOT is a free plug-in available for most popular browsers. The latest features are available now for Google Chrome and Apple Safari, while Mozilla Firefox users can get an early glance by installing the beta. The plug-in – minus these new features – is also available for Opera and Internet Explorer, and should be updated to include the extra protection in the next few weeks.

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