McAfee Site Advisor tells how safe files and links are

I had posted about Google Safe Browsing, that tells if site (and its online neighborhood) considered harmful. Checks by Google make sense, but are too light on details.

Site Advisor from McAfee is similar online service that provides more details on site safety and sites it is affiliated with.

What it does

Site Advisor core offer is browser plugin (only IE and Firefox are supported) that like many of its kind equips search results with safety indicators. Since I consider such approach enumerating badness, and so security bullshit, no kudos from me here. On to useful part.


Site also offers convenient security reports on sites that you can search for without installing their plugin.

Strong features

All files that site directly links to (hosted on same site or others either) are analyzed for viruses.

It is smart enough to recognize files that are safe, but often branded as hack tools (Angry IP Scanner for example). There are also icons to indicate if file is associated with nags like browser toolbars and home page changes.

Report on associated sites is not as thorough, it only shows several sites – as I assume most linked to. They are color-coded and linked to respective reports of their own.


There is also section for user reviews and as usual it is far from impressive. For sites I looked up there are mostly few reviews. Almost always some percent of them is bogus in paranoid or simply misguided way.

In any case random person online is not a good source of security information.


Site does good job with evaluation of linked files and sites, but not much more. Easy to use which makes it good for fast checks.

Link https://siteadvisor.us/

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  • Transcontinental #

    I totally agree with your "enumerating badness" approach and as well I like to refer to SiteAdvisor to check a website and its links. Here I use four bookmarklets to quickly check a website (most of the time for subjective reasons), which call, McAfee Site Advisor Browser Defender Norton Safe Web WOT When all four agree, I'm then entitled to be practically affirmative on the checked website's nastiness ... :)
  • Babo #

    If you run a tool like Linkextend http://www.linkextend.com/ you can see evaluation from all these services. No need for a new toolbar, buttons can be moved separately. If you can conclude anything but WOT is useful you are very selective ;) Throw in scanners from AVs if you like. WOT is far from perfect but Siteadvisor, Nortons Safe Web are way worse/limited. On a level where it is hard to see the point. Difference is of course 1. A much better plugin and 2. Many more valid sources for malware domains. Downside is the social angle which they promote as a huge benefit. WOT is a community! I know a hacker site which is 100% green. Voting system can and will be played proportional with WOTs impact/importance. They don't get it. Much like Google btw. Be careful about dismissing need for red lamps during a Google search. Many people just click among the first 10-20 hits from keywords known by those who are in to "malicious" SEO. Anyway, if WOT is set to only kick in on full red sites it surely is worthy of being part of a security setup. Any other service of this kind is a joke in comparison but check away with Linkextender.
  • Rarst #

    @Transcontinental I am spoiled by decent Opera security and low profile for malware, so I don't use site checks much. Still when you need it - they are very helpful to make a judgment on site. @Babo Looks like an interesting tool, but I am heavy Opera user so Firefox plugins aren't a good fit. :) Thanks for suggestion anyway - I hope readers who do use Firefox will find it useful.
  • Babo #

    There is a bookmarklet for you then. There is something for Chrome as well I think. Has not really much to do with browser security. More like inability to avoid clicking on crappy if not malicious links. Avoid stupidity, protect against the mess that is Google hits/ads. Those who happen to install rogue AV nr. 2 this week will like it. They are sheep anyway so might as well be guided by a security tool than what looks shiny. There is a certain amount of user who would benefit greatly from babysitters like WOT, even Mcafee. About 9 months ago there was a warning from Mashable and other web hyping friends about a fake Twitter site trying to grab accounts, phishing. Was blocked in WOT very fast. That site was down long before Mcafee even notice. WOT is like a Google bot where Mcafee is MSN bot, heh. The stuff you typically would like to be protected against is just the latest and greatest, unknown to AVs, browser filters and what else there is. Quality of their "social voting" is on level with what you noticed at Mcafee, probably same people! Security evaluations is for professionals only. 2 types of people will use it. 1. The paranoid who know very little but want to protect the world and 2. Those who vote with SEO in mind, spammers and other idiots. But like Mcafee WOT is also about green sites, promoting a site is a feature. They want it all. Never going to work but we will see. Must remember that WOTs flexible plugin let you get around most of this, can be fully transparent. Anyway, ever heard of DynDns Internet Security Guide? http://www.dyndns.com/services/dynguide/ like a discount Opendns except it also blocks malware domains. Pretty good, not that many false positives. Their video, promotion is silly but Barracuda source is very good. If you use this with WOT + browser filters it is not easy to provoke any web-disasters. Not even if you seek them. Many AVs with their "http" child-protecting real-time super scanners will say thank you, thank you ;)
  • Rarst #

    @Babo Well, that is why I prefer firewall over antivirus. :) AV mostly work on default permit basis, firewalls - on default block. Latter being much more reliable approach. Bookmarked that guide to go over it some time, thanks for suggestion again! :)