You may have noticed some of the sorely needed upgrades happening at WOT, from our new homepage, WOT 3.0, and the new scorecard. We’ve also begun prioritizing better communication with you, the community, to quickly react to bug reports and absorb feature requests. We’re very excited with the momentum so far, and we’re not slowing down.
2016 is here, and we’re following many exciting developments and
trends in online security: specifically, web filtering, mobile
device security, and the industry’s ability to adapt to new
threats. WOT is unique in that we are the leaders in crowdsourced
security, making the WOT
extension the number one tool for warning users about threats
that technology cannot see.
With the goal of improving both the WOT and MyWOT experience, we plan to continue improving our website and extension, and will search for ways to improve channels of communication between the WOT community and site owners.
It’s worth mentioning that because it’s the holiday season, many of you probably bought or received new devices: In 2016 you can expect to see new security threats that will put them at risk. We encourage you to protect your devices, both new and old, with WOT. To take safety a step further and protect the wider community against threats, resolve to continue rating sites for trustworthiness and safety, growing the “crowd” in “crowdsourced security” and making the web a safer place for all.
WOT wishes you a happy new year, and we’re looking forward to an exciting 2016!
‘Tis the season to beef up your computer’s security with one of the more proactive tools available: an internet filter. Why? Because an array of negative content, ranging from movie and show spoilers to online scams are becoming ubiquitous, and hackers are getting more sophisticated, finding their way around traditional malware blockers. Here are the top 3 reasons you should be using an internet filter for better browsing.
1. Avoid Spoilers
When it comes to movie or TV show spoilers, it’s hard to undo the damage, and this can be frustrating. If you’ve been quickly averting your eyes from the screen every time you see a reference to Star Wars for fear of seeing a spoiler, we feel your pain. For this, there are three actions you can take:
1. Stay off your computer
2. Go and watch the movie already!
3. Use a content filter
While option 1 isn’t always realistic and option 2 is a given, many users don’t realize that content filters aren’t only for parents screening objectionable content from kids. You can use them as a tool to avoid seeing spoilers for your most anticipated movies and TV shows.
2. Proactive Defense
For protecting yourself from malware, you can take the step of installing passive defense systems, such as firewalls and malware blockers. While these may help in the short run, hackers are getting more sophisticated, finding their way around traditional defenses. For whatever gets through this passive defense, there are also after-the-fact malware cleaners that sweep your computer, removing invasive software to varying degrees of effectiveness. But we believe the best defense is proactive.
Filtering search results from malware and other online threats
is an example of proactive internet safety. While filtering your
web content will likely never mean 100% protection from malicious
botnets, filtering your web content can help you think twice about clicking on a fateful link that you can’t undo.
3. Internet and Content Filters Are Customizable
Whether you’re a concerned parent, safety enthusiast, or a die-hard Star Wars fan, internet filters can be a game changer, helping you avoid spoilers and avoid clicking on untrustworthy links. In 2016 we predict major upgrades to filtering technologies, giving users the power to choose what to NOT see.
While internet filters will sometimes block more than you ask them to, the consensus is that they do much more help than harm. With more control handed to the user this coming year, we expect to see highly customizable and simple-to-use filters. Now that 2016 is less than 10 days away, we will all find out very soon.
You may have heard about the massive DDoS attack that reportedly tried to “bring down the internet” with a reported 5 million queries (requests for data/information) per second targeting key servers for 48 hours. Following this attack between November 30th and December 1st, everyday users and web security experts alike are asking:
-How did it happen?
-Who was behind this?
-Was my device used as part of this attack?
How DDoS attacks work:
In order to launch a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, a large number of “bots” are recruited. Bots are vulnerable computers that have been infected with specialized malware, which can be spread through a compromised website, email attachments or a network. Once a computer is a bot, it begins accepting commands from a centralized command server, and thousands of infected computers form a botnet. When a botnet gets a command to attack a particular site from the centralized command server, all of the bots begin sending requests to a targeted URL or server. The timing is well-coordinated and the bot traffic is distributed to maintain a high level of traffic, overload and effectively bring down the targeted server, forming a Distributed Denial of Service attack.
While there has been speculation as to the “who” and “how”, with
pointing the finger at government and terrorist organizations, the bottom line remains that it remains speculation. Most users want to know: “Was my device turned into a bot and used in this DDoS attack? If so, what can I do about it, if not, how can I keep my device safe?”
How do you know if your PC or mobile device is being used for DDoS attacks?
The answer isn’t as simple as one would hope. Bot malware has become more sophisticated over the years, often taking on more subtle forms that are overlooked by most malware scanners. You may have heard the term “zombie” used to describe a computer that has been turned into a bot. It’s not easy to tell if your computer or mobile device is a zombie, and while there are tools that reportedly help remove bot malware from your device, the strongest measures users can take are preventative.
How can you protect your device?
It’s important to steer clear from online threats and avoid downloading applications that install bot malware on your computer. Visit trustworthy sites and download files from trusted sources. If you don’t know what danger to look for, you can use tools that warn you before entering a dangerous site.
2016 will be a year that sees several new threats trying to force their way onto your devices, both desktop and mobile. This does not mean that you and your devices need to be vulnerable forever. Users can help make the internet a safer place by rating suspicious and safe sites accordingly, warning unsuspecting users before they fall victim to threats. The WOT team is working hard to ensure that users have tools to protect themselves from threats. More on that topic coming soon.
The scorecard is getting a facelift! As part of the promised improvements and updates to MyWOT, we’ve given the scorecard a new look that’s in line with the new site design: flat, modern, and simple. We believe this will be especially helpful for new users and website owners who are not already familiar with this feature. These Before and After shots demonstrate a much clearer division of the dashboard, insight pane, and user reviews. We hope you like the new look and feel.
This release will occur across all platforms in the coming days
and while we have been trying hard to prevent bugs, we understand
that you will likely catch some things we missed. Please help us
make this upgrade better for everyone by sending us your bug
reports, which we will monitor and try to fix as quickly as
The MyWOT Team
We’re excited to announce WOT 3.0, the all new version of our popular browser extension. We worked hard on improving the UI and fixing bugs. Thanks to our improvements you can now enjoy a much clearer division to “Trustworthiness” and “Child Safety” and a more readable interface. In addition, we are introducing a much flatter and cleaner design that follows our new design direction.
As this is the first major update we made to WOT addon in a while, we wanted to make sure it goes smoothly. Therefore, we planned a gradual rollout starting with a small percentage of Chrome users. After we work our way through Chrome (and Chromiums), we will release the Firefox and Safari versions which are in development.
You can download it from here now.
Thank you all for the support and staying with us during quiet times as well. Exciting times are coming and we are planning more product updates.
The WOT Team.