back to article Review site furious over McAfee SiteAdvisor 'false alert'

A UK business had to fight for two weeks to clear its name after falsely being accused of harbouring malware by McAfee's SiteAdvisor service. SiteAdvisor issued a red alert against software review site at the start of July. It wrongly claimed the site contained a dangerous download. SiteAdvisor uses a mixture of …


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  1. Colin Wilson


    this is the same site as reported on i'll echo my response here - no-one uses yahoo anyway, so the chances of losing trade are approximately nil.

  2. Brooklyn
    Jobs Halo

    McAfee... Meh!

    As an ex employee of the mighty McAfee Inc, it doesn't surprise me that the response smells of legal doings. SiteAdvisor is flawed, was flawed at launch, but they have to justify the $6m they paid for it some how. Hackersafe is going the same way.

    McAfee... Retards tbh.

    Steve, because he doesn't need McAfee

  3. TeeCee Gold badge


    I suspect that like world+dog they've got adverts on their site. I also suspect that occasionally an ad server slips a moody one in as this sort of thing seems to be getting more common by the day.

    If Site Advisor trawls sites and happened to hit at the right time, they could easily get flagged as serving malware even though the core of the site isn't. If so, this isn't McAfee's fault, it's the fault of lazy ad pushers and webmasters taking direct feeds from disreputable suppliers.

    Personally I reckon that ad-server supplied malware is the biggest threat out there right now as you can get crap being apparently pushed from allegedly trustworthy sources (yes, we know the difference, but Joe Public doesn't).

    The 'net's ad industry needs to clean up its act sharpish. Until this happens, F'fox and adblock are your friends. The use of adblock is justified right now, regardless of what anyone else may have to say on the subject and will continue to be so until the ad servers cease to be the sewer pipes they are today.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I’ve been hit too.

    Siteadvisor registered on my site to receive small ads by email, and then flagged the site for sending them “Buy my fridge” mails.


  5. techpro
    Jobs Halo

    Not advertising

    As the owner of the site in question I can state categorically that this rating was not the result of a bad link by an ad server. It was a link to a free trial download of a reputable anti-spyware product, which 32 out of 33 scanners at pronounced clean (the exception being McAfee's.)

  6. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Also this week...

    ...Robert Murat receives half a million from some newspapers that didn't bother to check their sources either.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    It is the Advertising.

    When you link to a third party server you are at thier mercy. If they serve your visitors, (say 1 in 1000) with Malware you are at fault.

    The only way to solve this is to host the ads yourself without linking.

    Ad servers all over the palce are filled with malicious junk, They are huge targets for expoliotation by hackers.

  8. Dave Bell

    I'm still worried about adverts

    I can quite believe that this false positive was from an available download of a detection program. That's definitely a hard problem--how do you describe the malware for your software without triggering some other software's detector?

    But I also know that Yahoo keep presenting me with adverts which are directed at the UK, and are possibly illegal on such grounds as being a fraudulent lottery.

    I'm not a screaming opponent of adverts, but on the net they seem largely uncontrolled. I'm even seeing Green Card adverts again. They have the potential to be very dangerous, and the companies supplying them aren't doing much to encourage anyone to trust them.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    RE: I’ve been hit too.

    Don't send people spam then.

  10. Steve Mann

    Yes but

    Where's the Linkscanner angle?

  11. Franklin

    Same old same old story

    My site was erroneously flagged last year by Site Advisor as a "spam source" in spite of the fact that my site sends out no emails whatsoever--not newsletters, not opt-in emails, nothing.

    It took six months and threat of legal action to get Site Advisor to change the rating. They have (or had at the time) no formal appeal or review process, and even though they admitted immediately that the rating was flawed (they blamed it on an automated "software glitch), it still took months for the error to be corrected.

    Classic McAfee, in my experience. Why this company continues to exist is a mystery to me.

    Interestingly, the Wikipedia entry on SiteAdvisor has been sanitized (by a self-identified McAfee employee) to remove all references to problems and false positives. Classic Wikipedia, too, now that I think about it.

  12. Jeff Rowse Silver badge

    Hot times for McAfee? Or El Reg typo?


    Since Yahoo! SearchScan doesn't always use the latest SiteAdvisor database, it continued to erroneously ***warm*** of false positives on until Wednesday.


    Or mebbe it's a(nother) sign that the Yahooligans should all burn in hell... if it doesn't detect that something is re-labelled as "Safe", then how does it spot something new that isn't safe??i

  13. Anonymous Coward

    RE: if...

    "no-one uses yahoo anyway, so the chances of losing trade are approximately nil."

    Ssshhhhh!!! Don't shout this too loudly, Microsoft might hear you.


    Yahoo Board Member

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Not safe for work

    She's not safe for work or home consumption.

  15. Duncan

    Suprised people even bother complaining....

    I'm suprised that people would bother to contact any large corporation to ask them to alter or change something in a program like siteadvisor.

    To me if you are losing money through sales, advertising, or goodwill (so company name/reputation) you just send them a recorded letter saying you will be starting legal action against them to recoup costs and loss of earnings.

    Why bother leaving a comment on the site? It's a cheek that they expect the site owner to make a comment. Your comment will cost them no money, your call will cost them no money, but legal action could....

    Stop being so green and just get used to firing off legal threats for being mistreated by large companies. It's a fact of life. If it is your site, your business, and your living how the hell can you not do something soon tech-pro? Legal action now, worry later.

    Mines the coat as I'm off for a job at the RIAA after that rant :P

  16. Steven Burn

    Advertising .....

    .... known rogues, tends to have that effect ........ lie with the dog, get fleas.

    Just one example;

    ... and surprise surprise, your buy now button for it;

    ... is an affiliate link;¤cy=USD&ss_short_order=true obviously couldn't give a crap, until it stops them earning money ...... what did they expect to happen?

    @El Reg, TP are NOT a review site ........ reviewers that get paid by the companies that developed the program they are reviewing = biased (everything I saw on their site had affiliate rubbish all over it).

  17. techpro

    What has this to do with false malware positives?

    What have affiliation links to do with a false accusation of distributing malware? The Shield Deluxe is actually a rebranded Kaspersky Antivirus 6. does not review rubbish no matter how big a commission the developer offers. All sites need to earn a living unless they are run as a hobby - perhaps you use an ad blocker and didn't notice the ads on The Register?

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