Web of Trust
February 7, 2013
You may remember that someone used my Gmail account to send out hundreds of spam emails. I wrote about it two weeks ago, and I didn’t know how they accessed my account then. I still have no idea how they did it, but this week I’ll talk about another precaution that I’ve taken. I believe that I clicked a bad link and inadvertently downloaded a keystroke-tracker, or something that read the stored passwords in my browser. I ran a good scan and didn’t find any malicious software, so I’m not sure if the former possibility occurred.
To protect myself from dangerous hyperlinks that might open malicious software, I’ve installed the Web of Trust add-on. Next to every hyperlink, I now see a circle like these below:
A green circle means that link has an “excellent” reputation, yellow means “unsatisfactory”, and red means the link has a “poor” reputation. These reputations are exactly that – hyperlinks get their associated color by how safe Web of Trust users have voted it. To vote on a link’s safety, you have to register with the Web of Trust site. But you don’t need to register to use the add-on. I don’t feel like I’m tech-savvy enough to rate sites just yet (someone fooled me only a few weeks ago!), but I created an account so that I could grab an image of what the process looks like. If you sign up, and then put your cursor over the Web of Trust circle next to a link, you’ll see something like this:
Here, you can rate the hyperlinked site on four metrics: trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy, and child safety. If I clicked on a bad link, I would bet that it would score low in the “trustworthiness” and “privacy” scales. There’s more info on what exactly these mean at the Web of Trust site. I hope that helps – I know it’s keeping me safe.
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