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Dangerous Downloads on Legitimate Websites & Search Engines

This is a must read article on how to avoid dangerous downloads from websites.

Bill P, creator of the excellent freeware program WinPatrol has put together a great article on how this can happen to any of us. It has screenshots and examples to help you safely download programs from the internet.

He mentions WOT, the same tool that's used here on Gizmo's Freeware to check the safety of websites.
(Yes, Bill P has a Plus version of WinPatrol and he does mention it on his site. WinPatrol Plus licenses are permanent with no charge for upgrades or new versions - the free version is a terrific program too.)

Dangerous Downloads on Legitimate Websites & Search Engines

Off for now,

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by Carolina_D (not verified) on 12. September 2011 - 1:16  (79453)

Lately I've noticed quite a bit of misinformation from WOT. MANY political sites...most of them 'liberal' sites, have been marked as red sites. When I go to the WOT ratings pages for those sites there are always a lot of complaints from people who feel as I do, and NO comments from anyone who may have marked the site as red. It's a dangerous precedent to set, it's kind of like the little boy who cried wolf. People will start clicking on red sites just cos they feel they were possibly marked as red as a form of spite. I don't usually do this, but when I have been using a site for quite a while and it's suddenly a red site, I always go to the rating page to see if something has changed with that site...maybe stealth downloaders or something. If I feel it's still safe, then I DO go there again. It's turning into a judgment call, and I don't like it one little bit.

by strydrdenis (not verified) on 10. September 2011 - 2:52  (79343)

I have used Win patrol as a constant program on all the various machines I have owned. I use the Plus version and want to say that I will continue to listen to the barking dog. Thank-You Bill P

by tweetiepooh on 9. September 2011 - 9:07  (79273)

While WOT can offer protection it does also "block" good sites sometimes for very odd reasons. Why should a site selling solar panels get red dotted for child safety? There is no way to put a N/A on the item.

On the whole though it works as intended.

by MidnightCowboy on 9. September 2011 - 9:56  (79279)

I think your last sentence sums it up pretty well.

None of the rating agents are infallible but most of those complaining that WOT has a vested interest in "something" have the same themselves.

Just look at all the hoops IOBit went through with redirected websites in an attempt to hide their own poor status.

The bottom line is I've never known anyone have a major issue with a green rated site, but I know plenty who have been caught out big time after entering a red one.

by John S. (not verified) on 8. September 2011 - 12:04  (79212)

WOT slows computer so much,it frustrates users(at least me)!

by RacerXX (not verified) on 8. September 2011 - 18:37  (79239)

I concur.. Tried WOT a while back and immediately removed it. Talk about intrusive.

by MidnightCowboy on 8. September 2011 - 12:28  (79213)

I wonder what you are basing this statement on?

I use WOT on Windows and Linux with Firefox, IE, Opera and SRWareIron and have no slow computer because of it.

Users not wishing to install the extension might like to consider switching to the DuckDuckGo search engine instead. It's highly configurable, including an option to display WOT ratings in search results. DuckDuckGo also filters out the majority of ad sites which most of us don't wish to see listed anyway, and doesn't track your surfing.

by rroberto on 8. September 2011 - 6:34  (79191)

Unfortunately, WOT is not reliable either, with lots of conflicts of interest -- based on WOT's own business model as well as organized retaliatory measures taken by bigger businesses in competition with small business websites. The only way WOT responds to these conflicts of interest is to question the motivations of those who see all this in action:

(1) WOT throws onto your screen many warnings for the websites of small, legit businesses -- even non-profits --who have refused to buy into WOT's "improve your ratings" ad package.

(2) WOT's website warnings do not take into account specific user experience detailed in on-site comments. They are merely an average of 0-100% ratings which require no specific explanation to support.

(3) Given WOT's methodology, the website of any business can be ruined by its competitors' executives, employees, friends and relatives logging in just for the purpose of entering 0% for competing websites without having to report justification for the numerical ratings.Comments which contain real experiences give more information but are not required of raters and in any event "don't figure into" the warnings.

by rhiannon on 7. September 2011 - 18:59  (79163)

@George Barton, @richtea; I agree with you both - I like to support him so every now and then I buy another license for the Pro version. The licenses are for life but still.....he deserves the support.

by richtea (not verified) on 7. September 2011 - 16:53  (79151)

Bill P deserves every penny he gets for WinPatrol; it is one of the few programs I have paid for. His blog is very readable, too, and always on the spot. Godspeed to him!