10+ great tools for safer web browsing
Web Of Trust (WOT, Pictured)
WOT is a community-powered trust and ratings system. With nearly 26 million sites rated to date, it's one of the most popular safe browsing tools you can find. Their browser add-on is available for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome. Once installed, you'll start seeing WOT's color coded ratings rings next to links to let you know if they're safe.
I have WOT installed in my browsers, and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
McAfee Site Advisor and AVG Linkscanner
Name recognition matters to less technical users, and McAfee and AVG are two of the most recognized names in antivirus. Besides antivirus, both have also developed safe browsing tools like WOT to complement their internet security software. Both are free downloads and work with Firefox and Internet Explorer, and they're a great way to know if a link is safe before you click it.
LastPass, KeePass, 1Password, and RoboForm
One Internet safety issue which keeps popping up is the need for better passwords. These four tools all offer ways to securely store your passwords and also help you create strong passwords. You might not be able to handle 14 different passwords like @h1Pp0p0tMu5.bu770ck$@, but you don't have to. Choose one humdinger to protect your password tool of choice, and let it do the remembering for you!
Not sure the file you're about to download is safe? Why not run it through a virus scan before you ever download it? Head over to NoVirusThanks and choose "scan web address." Copy and paste in the link to your file, and press submit! The scanner can only handle files up to 10Mb, but it's a good way to check small music and video downloads you're unsure about.
One way scammers try to trick you is with shortened URLs (think tinyurl, bit.ly, is.gd, goo.gl, etc.). While some services that create short URLs have started checking for malicious links, many still don't. LongURL Please can help by un-shortening those links so you can see where they're trying to send you.
Long URL Please is offered as a Firefox add-on and a bookmarklet (which works in any web browser). Not sure what a bookmarklet is or how to use one? Check out Vic's post to learn all about them!
One really good way to prevent Internet badness from creeping onto your computer is to head it off at the pass. By using OpenDNS on your system (or setting it up on your wireless router) you can take advantage of their massive blacklist which prevents your computer from accessing known bad sites.
It's easier to set up than you might think. OpenDNS provides instructions and video tutorials, and Windows users can download DNS Jumper -- a free tool which makes switching as easy as pressing a button!
Secunia Online Software Inspector
This tool examines Windows and a long list of popular programs to see where your system might be vulnerable. There's more to keeping your computer safe than automatic updates and virus protection, after all. When the Inspector finds a problematic program, it will display a download link so you can resolve the issue.
...and don't forget to check our list of free antivirus programs for Windows. With great apps like Avast 5, Microsoft Security Essentials, and Avira who needs to pay for antivirus software?