McAfee SiteAdvisor FAQs


  1. What is McAfee SiteAdvisor?
  2. SiteAdvisor is a tool from McAfee that protects Internet users from all kinds of Web-based security threats and annoyances including spyware, adware, unwanted software, spam, pop-ups, online fraud and identity theft.

    We built a system of automated testers which continually patrol the Web to browse sites, download files, and enter information on sign-up forms. Our easy to use software for Internet Explorer and Firefox summarizes our safety results into intuitive red, yellow and green ratings to help Web users stay safe as they search, browse and transact online.

    You can read more about SiteAdvisor in the About us section.

  3. What is McAfee SiteAdvisor Plus?
  4. SiteAdvisor Plus is a powerful enforcer of Internet safety. This premium product provides active, real-time, comprehensive protection from dangerous sites that can compromise your identity and your PC. SiteAdvisor Plus includes all the great features of SiteAdvisor, including safe search ratings, safe browse ratings, and phishing protection. It also adds these important additional features:

    • Link Checker checks links embedded in e-mail and instant messages, warning consumers before they make a bad click decision.
    • Protected Mode enforces SiteAdvisor's safety ratings by redirecting consumers to a safe page anytime their computer is about to interact with a risky site.

  5. What is McAfee SECURE Certification?
  6. McAfee SECURE certification helps consumers shop online with confidence. Sites with the McAfee SECURE trustmark have passed a set of daily security scans that help address concerns about possible hacker access to your confidential data, and the safety of shopping on this site.

    When searching, the McAfee SECURE trustmark can be automatically displayed next to the SiteAdvisor site ratings. Users may use this information to help them shop and surf more safely.

    McAfee SECURE certification is the world's most comprehensive security certification, scanning tens of thousands of web sites worldwide. McAfee SECURE certification appears on the sites of some of the largest brands in retail ecommerce; as well as banks, universities, Fortune 500 corporations, state, county and city governments, and non-profit institutions. McAfee's security auditing technology allows the McAfee SECURE trustmark to appear only when a web site's current security status meets the McAfee SECURE certification standard.

  7. How are your safety ratings determined?
  8. McAfee SiteAdvisor Site Rating Explanation

  9. How much of the Web have you tested?
  10. We've already tested most of it. To date, we have:

    • Evaluated more than 8 million Web sites covering more than 95% of Web traffic
    • Downloaded and tested more than 5 million pieces of software
    • Provided unique e-mail addresses on more than 7 million registration forms

    SiteAdvisor hasn't scanned everything yet, but we're well on our way, and we continue to perform tens of thousands of new tests every day.

  11. How do your safety ratings help keep me safe online?
  12. Our software is your personal security guide to the Internet. As you search, browse, e-mail, IM or transact online, SiteAdvisor continually displays our safety rating about the site you're visiting, so you stay safe and in control. When you search using popular search engines, SiteAdvisor's safety results appear next to search results. And if you're interested in more detailed information on a site, we document all our test results on our site report pages.

  13. What if a Web site stops spamming or a download stops bundling unwanted software?
  14. We retest sites on a regular basis, so our automated testers can tell if a site changed its behavior for better or worse.

    We like to see bad guys get better. Because we revisit and retest every site over time, Web sites that engage in malicious activity have a chance to clean up their acts. But don't expect our ratings to change overnight. The only way for ratings to change is to get clean and stay clean. Think of SiteAdvisor's web reputation ratings as similar to credit scores. If you had a history of dilinquent payments and then suddenly paid all your creditors, your credit score wouldn't become perfect overnight. Similarly, a dangerous site which suddenly cleans up its act will show improved ratings over time, but will not have a perfect rating immediately.

  15. Do you charge money for your ratings?
  16. No. Sites can't pay to get rated or have their ratings changed. Our ratings are based on our test results and feedback from our users. Period.

  17. How do you arrive at your Web site verdicts?
  18. McAfee SiteAdvisor Site Rating Explanation

  19. Does SiteAdvisor provide anti-phishing functionality?
  20. Yes. As of January 2007, both the free version of SiteAdvisor as well as SiteAdvisor Plus provide anti-phishing functionality.

  21. How do you rate pornographic or adult Web sites?
  22. SiteAdvisor is specifically focused on safety issues. We don't rate sites for the content they offer or whether content is appropriate for minors. If an adult Web site fails one or more of our tests for spyware, spam, exploits, viruses or scams, we will rate them red.

  23. Aren't traditional security products enough? How are you different?
  24. SiteAdvisor complements and enhances your existing security software. Our software specializes in detecting complex threats which traditional security products often miss, including adware installations, online scams and sites which send you excessive e-mail. SiteAdvisor also warns you before you interact with a dangerous Web site. Traditional security products tend to focus on trying to clean up problems after they occur.

  25. So is SiteAdvisor saying that traditional security products are obsolete?
  26. Absolutely not. The challenge of Web safety and security requires multiple levels of protection. It's like having locks on your doors and also knowing which streets and neighborhoods are safe. We provide our users with a defensive tier for proactive prevention that is complementary to existing security products.

  27. What percentage of sites are dangerous?
  28. SiteAdvisor's safety tests have shown that about 5% of Web traffic is to either red or yellow sites . But many popular Web categories (examples: screensavers, free games, contests) have a much higher percentage of red and yellow sites.

  29. I'm a journalist considering an investigative story about (fill in the blank) Can SiteAdvisor help?
  30. We'd be happy to help and see how our data might add insight to your story. E-mail us at SiteAdvisor PR.

  31. How do I dispute a site's rating?
  32. See the McAfee SiteAdvisor Site Rating Dispute Resolution Process

  33. How can I keep my web site safe?
  34. See Tips for Keeping Your Web Site Safe

Look in our FAQs, or send us your comments or questions.

Shane Keats
E-mail: SiteAdvisor PR
617-880-7655