McAfee takes on Internet security

Internet security tools provider McAfee is expanding its services significantly with a new secure search service and a security scanning service that looks for holes in a Web site’s application that might allow a hacker to gain access.

These new services are in addition to the previously announced partnership with Yahoo that alerts users of the search engine about the most risky sites.

With some figures indicating that 7.8 billion risky sites are served up in search engine results every month, “consumers are having to guess who’s safe and who isn’t,” said Tim Dowling, VP of the Web security group at McAfee. The company “wanted to tackle how to make the Internet more secure,” he added.

The McAfee Secure Search is a toolbar that users can install to see green, yellow and red ratings within search results. These ratings will indicate if a site is safe, if a consumer needs to exercise caution or if it’s risky. Consumers can customize the toolbar to completely filter out risky “red” sites. The secure search service will be available via the McAfee SiteAdvisor toolbar and released to existing and new SiteAdvisor users later this quarter. Yahoo is powering the search component.

“For very security-conscious consumers, this will replace their existing search engine,” said Dowling. For those who just visit sites and aren’t downloading a lot of stuff, they may use the site intermittently. 

Today, McAfee is launching McAfee Secure for Websites, which is a certification service requiring Web site owners to pass a series of tests as well as daily scans of their vulnerability to hackers. The testing includes what’s necessary for Web sites to gain PCI compliance. Those that pass will be able to display a McAfee Secure icon on their Web site. In addition, these sites will also be identified in the secure search results.

McAfee acquired ScanAlert in January, which makes the security verification solution Hacker Safe. According to research done by ScanAlert and McAfee since acquiring it, the average increase in sales from displaying a trust mark like the new McAfee Secure symbol was 14%. This is based on A/B testing by more than 1,000 merchants.

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