Feeds

Ask.com preps Google-like* malware warnings

* Internet-breakage not included

Boost IT visibility and business value

Ask.com is prepping Google-like malware warnings - though it hopes to leave out the bit where the Oompa Loompa accidentally blocks access to the entire internet.

Early Saturday morning Pacific time, someone inside the Mountain View Chocolate Factory accidentally added a wildcard to the search engine's master list of potentially harmful sites, and for about an hour, Google's main search engine steered people clear of every site on the net.

In the wake of this snafu, Ask.com - the web's fourth leading search engine behind Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft Live Search - has told the world it's now partnering with Symantec to provide search-result safety rankings that alert web surfers to potentially harmful sites. But unlike Google, Ask has no intention of populating the list on its own. A company spokesman tells us the list will be controlled entirely by Symantec, a veteran of the anti-malware wars.

"We saw what happened over the weekend," he says, "and we're confident [Symantec] will get things right every time, all the time."

Initially, these Safe Search rankings will only be available to users who embrace the latest version of Symantec's Norton 360, currently in beta. Norton 360 offers a search toolbar that dovetails with the Ask engine.

But Ask says it will eventually wedge safety warnings into the site itself. "We don't have a time line," the company tells us. "But we're committed to working on other Safe Search products with Symantec, and that means making safe search available on the site."

Norton's Safe Search warnings are not generated in real time. So, unlike the now-defunct AVG LinkScanner, there's no danger that Safe Search will destroy the world of web analytics. Instead, warnings are pulled from a master database kept by Norton.

Google keeps its own malware list - though it claimed the list was kept by someone else when it broke the internet early Saturday morning. At about 9am Saturday, with a post to the Official Google Blog, Googirl Marissa Mayer said her search engine had malfunctioned because of a human error involving a list maintained by the not-for-profit StopBadware.org. But StopBadware disputed her claim and Mayer soon admitted the list was kept by Google.

Google merely works with StopBadware to select criteria for inclusion on the list.

No doubt, Norton is prone to human error as well. But if Ask blocked access to the entire net, relatively few users would notice. Whereas Google controls more than 60 per cent of the search market, Ask controls around four. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.