Finally, Facebook has decided to integrate some community help to their internal security team. Welcome WOT or Web of Trust. In a nutshell:
“Web of Trust (WOT) is a community-powered surfing tool that boosts trust on the Internet, by using authentic user experiences to help web users find reliable websites. The leading community-based safe surfing tool uses an intuitive traffic-light rating system to help web users stay safe when they search, surf and shop online. Website ratings are powered by a fast growing worldwide community of over 20 million users who have rated the reputation of 31 million websites based on their experiences in terms of trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy and child safety. Information from selected technical services is also used. The add-on works with Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari and is a free download from www.mywot.com.”
Today [May 12, 2011], the WOT will be integrated with Facebook in order to provide realtime protection to Facebook’s 600M users against spyware, viruses and of course the ever present socially engineered spams.
What this Means for Facebook Users:
The big question however is.. How will this benefit Facebook users and how different will this be from Facebook’s regular security?
Not a 3rd Party App: From what I gather, the WOT will not be treated as a 3rd party app. This means that you won’t have to activate this feature or you don’t have to grant the program additional permissions to access your account. The WOT will be rolled out to everyone regardless of whether they like it or not, which I think is a good thing since some people are just too lazy or at a loss on how to install these kind of security apps themselves.
Realtime Alerts: Unlike other anti-virus programs that can only detect the threats after you click on the link, the WOT will be able to warn you of the untrustworthiness of the link [even if it’s a shortened link] before you arrive on the site you clicked to. This will be like the “Are you sure you want to delete this post?” window that appears whenever you want to erase something on your own wall. In effect, the WOT will act like a buffer that will warn you about a potentially dangerous site or application and ask for confirmation before it lets you proceed if you click on the Ignore warning button. Facebook users can also opt to learn more about the rating by clicking on a link on the window. WOT ratings are recalculated every 30 minutes to ensure users have the freshest and most reliable information. [see screencap below]
At this stage, any Facebook user that will ignore the warning will be either too stubborn to heed the warning or too curious to care.
CrowdSourced: Unlike Facebook’s regular security where you don’t really know what happens to your reports, where it goes, if someone actually reads it, or if it really made a difference, in WOT every Facebook user can make a difference by contributing their votes and comments. Think of eBay and their crowdsourced seller/buyer system and you’ll see how fast and reliable this system will be when it comes to detecting spam and scams in comparison to the regular Facebook security. Plus, since its crowdsourced, it will also be able to detect scams that don’t involve any malware like pornography, socially engineered scams and survey scams. To date, WOT’s global community has reported five million sites for phishing, untrustworthy content, fraudulent services or various scams.
Security Off Facebook: What’s more, signing up for the free WOT service will also increase your online security off Facebook as you will be able to see the same warnings whenever you use different search engines and browsers. Users of the WOT tool will also see reputation icons on Google search results, email links, Twitter and for shortened URLs.
Click Here to read the official blog post from Facebook Security regarding the WOT partnership.
The Web of Trust will be rolled out to Facebook users in the