One of the main problems with the web is it’s strongest feature: openness.
Anyone, anywhere can design and publish a website.
A lot of sites are specifically designed (phishing) to fool you into entering details about yourself or simply make you think you are on another site. Perhaps it is designed to place malware on client system.
One way to protect yourself, other than limiting your access or complete abstinence, is to check sites first. Many home Internet Security packages (Symantec, Trend, etc) include Safe Search toolbars or options but the are many providers out there willing to tell you this for free.
After all, if you like the service they provide here you may buy other products from them.
Here’s a short list of reputation providers. I have used all these and all are good. Try them all and see which suits your needs best.
(free version of SearchAhead but currently offline)
(like ScanSafe, provided by Cisco)
TRUSTe (signed up and payed for by site owner)
An example of how a site can get external accreditation. Alas with these schemes you cannot tell if the site has the “badge” until you have already visited it. Limited use.
It is a shame but my favourite was Scandoo. I make a lot of use at work of the features in SearchAhead too, as that links into our security policy, informing users whether a site is blocked and even how the site is categorised, that is what kind of content is on the site. For the end user of Symantec 360 the optional toolbar is a good addition.
This is just a small selection, if you have more let me know and I’ll take a look!
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