Feeds

McAfee: Why we blacklisted SANS

False positives almost unknown, claims SiteAdviser boss

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Analysis McAfee's SiteAdvisor security tool briefly blacklisted the respected SANS Institute on Wednesday. The incident highlights wider concerns about the reliability of the safe surfing tool.

Websites including the main sans.org website, as well as related sites giac.org and sans.edu sites, were tagged as bad and given a red flag. The classification arose because newsletters held on the main SANS site pointed to exploit samples on third-party web sites.

While the classification was therefore not completely unreasonable, giving one of the most respected information websites on the net the same rating as, for example, a phishing or malware serving website is more than a little rum.

The problem was rapidly sorted out after the SANS Institute got in touch with McAfee, in line with the security firm's promise to respond to concerns about classification (though not necessarily to make changes) within 24 hours.

Ernst & Young security advisor and security blogger Nathan McFeters is caustic about McAfee's classification, arguing that McAfee ought to know better than red-flagging the home of the Internet Storm Center. McFeters, not McAfee directly, was responsible for alerting Internet Storm Centre staffers about the classification.

Take this on advisement

McAfee SiteAdvisor runs a set of automated tools which browse sites, download files, and enter information on sign-up forms in order to warn users if sites either present a malware risk or are sending out spam. The service is available as a browser plug-in as well as through a deal with Yahoo! to include SiteAdvisor ratings within search results.

SiteAdvisor maintains an index of 21 million of the most popular websites, according to Tim Dowling, global VP of web security for McAfee. We spoke to Dowling on Tuesday about SiteAdvisor to determine why it took more than a week to change a negative classification of UK software review site tech-pro.net earlier this month.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.