Computer Security Wiki
McAfee SiteAdvisor

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SiteAdvisor Wesbite
The McAfee SiteAdvisor Website showing the review for Wikipedia

Developed by




Type Site advisor
License Proprietary (freeware and commercial)

SiteAdvisor is a service that reports on the safety of web sites by crawling the web and testing the sites it finds for malware and spam. The service was originally developed by SiteAdvisor, Inc, an MIT startup[1] first presented at CodeCon on February 10, 2006[2] and acquired by McAfee[3] on April 5, 2006.

SiteAdvisor Plus[]

A paid version of McAfee SiteAdvisor, McAfee SiteAdvisor Plus, has extra features. The functionality of SiteAdvisor can be accessed either through a Browser Plugin or by submitting a URL to the website.

Extra features of McAfee SiteAdvisor[]

  • Rates email and IM links
  • Indicates sites potentially harmful to your computer
  • Alerts users to possible phishing and identity theft scams
  • Redirects you away from red and yellow sites (if protected mode is enabled).


False positives[]

SiteAdvisor has received criticism for incorrectly flagging web sites with a caution or warning label.[4][5][6]

False negatives[]

The very nature of SiteAdvisor and the long periods between site crawls mean that even if the SiteAdvisor tests were 100% accurate a Green rating offers no guarantee of safety. Malicious code and browser exploits often spread fast over large numbers of websites,[7] meaning a Green rating may not be up to date and may provide a false sense of security.

Communication and accountability[]

In the event of a positive result website owners are not contacted. Although a dispute resolution service does exist, the final decision rests with McAfee.[8] In the event that a perceived threat is removed from a site the site's rating will return to Green through a process called 'ageingout'. Depending on the nature of the threat this process can take from 10 days to a year after the site is re-crawled, no strict timetable is provided.[9]


  • Time magazine named among the 50 coolest websites of 2006.[10]
  • Popular Science awarded SiteAdvisor the "Best of What's New" award in the Computing category for 2006.[11]
  • PC World ranked SiteAdvisor at #15 in "The 100 Best Products of 2007."[12]



See also[]

External links[]

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