SOURCE: Windows Secrets

Windows Secrets

February 11, 2009 19:15 ET

McAfee's SiteAdvisor Security Ratings Faulty, Says Windows Secrets

Outdated Updates Leave Users Vulnerable

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - February 11, 2009) - Web surfers who rely on McAfee's SiteAdvisor to safely navigate Web sites may be getting a false sense of security, according to a story in today's Windows Secrets Newsletter. Contributing editor Mark Joseph Edwards says the "good" or "bad" ratings that SiteAdvisor assigns to Web sites may be as much as a year out of date, resulting in false ratings that leave Web surfers vulnerable to security attacks.

"Rating services can be helpful for people concerned about the integrity of the sites they regularly visit or maintain," says Edwards. "However, if ratings aren't regularly updated -- as SiteAdvisor's obviously aren't -- then they're useless."

McAfee's SiteAdvisor, available as a browser plug-in and via its Web site, rates sites using multiple criteria. SiteAdvisor scans sites for malware and spamming components, ultimately issuing a rating of green, yellow, or red. Unfortunately, the ratings may not be updated or an individual Web site scanned for up to a year after an initial rating is given, meaning a reported "secure" Web site could become compromised, or one with a red rating may continue to lose traffic even after it is secured by the owner.

"McAfee should update the SiteAdvisor information in a more timely way," says Brian Livingston, editorial director of Windows Secrets. "It's too easy for a hacker to work the system, and it leaves legitimate sites vulnerable to false positives and unwarranted red flags."

The full text of the article can be found at http://windowssecrets.com/2009/02/12/ts.

Seattle-based WindowsSecrets.com publishes a free, weekly e-mail newsletter with over 400,000 subscribers. A longer, paid version is available for a contribution determined by the subscriber. Published since 2003, the newsletter reveals tips and tricks to get the most out of Microsoft Windows. Employing six full-time staff members, WindowsSecrets.com publishes the work of several contributing editors, including Fred Langa, Woody Leonhard, Ryan Russell, and Susan Bradley. For more information, visit www.WindowsSecrets.com.

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