Feeds

McAfee: Why we blacklisted SANS

False positives almost unknown, claims SiteAdviser boss

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.