Yahoo Partnership Launches McAfee Web Security Offering

Specifically, the service, which is primed to be launched this summer, emulates the protections provided to users by eliminating risky sites from search results.

With Tuesday's announcement of the recent partnership between McAfee and Yahoo, comprehensive protection for Web searches has thus far been relegated to Yahoo users. The two companies announced that they planned to combine technologies to develop a warning system protecting users from sites that contain dangerous downloads such as Trojans, keystroke loggers, botnets and vulnerability exploits.

Meanwhile, the joint Yahoo and McAfee endeavor has completely eliminated user access to drive-by downloads, or sites that automatically install malware without users' consent.

McAfee' comprehensive Web protection extends the same services to a broader consumer base, while giving the company a competitive edge in the marketplace.

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"Most consumers have security concerns. They're worried about providing personal information," said Tim Dowling, vice president of McAfee Web Security Group. "There's really no system that allows (Web sites) to distinguish themselves."

Until now, that is. McAfee Secure Search consumers will now be able to avoid malicious sites that exploit browser vulnerabilities, and downloads that contain spyware, viruses or adware, in addition to phishing sites that trick them into revealing personally identifying and sensitive financial information.

The McAfee Secure Search Service will be available via the McAfee SiteAdvisor toolbar and released to existing and new SiteAdvisor users as a free download later this quarter. Like existing Yahoo customers following the partnership, McAfee users will see SiteAdvisor's alert system indicate the level of safety for the visited Web site. Green, yellow and red icons will reveal whether the site is safe, risky or if the consumer needs to exercise caution.

McAfee execs say the package will ultimately reinstate faith both searching and doing business online.

"With four out of five Web site visits starting with search, the McAfee Secure Search Service will direct McAfee customers to the secure Internet and the new McAfee Secure for Web sites will give e-businesses a tremendous opportunity to build trust, boost traffic and ultimately increase online sales," said Todd Gebhart, senior vice president and general manger of McAfee's consumer, Web small and mobile business, in a written statement.

In addition, the company is launching its McAfee Secure for Web Sites, a consumer trust mark designed to distinguish the safe sites from the ones containing malware. Altogether the trust mark for Website owners and online retailers combines rigorous security testing, business practice review, Payment Card Industry compliance certification and ongoing vulnerability evaluation.

Web sites that pass the certification process will be able to display a McAfee Secure trust mark, which will provide consumers and businesses confidence that they're making online transactions in a secure environment.

McAfee Secure Web sites will also be identified in the company's SiteAdvisor ratings, intended to help consumers choose secure sites through their search results.

Execs say that the anticipated service addresses problems highlighted by a 2006 Taylor Nelson Sofres survey, which indicated that 70 percent of terminated online purchases result from lack of trust for the transaction, costing e-commerce retailers $1.9 billion in lost revenues.

"When you think about last year 160 billion of ecommerce online, 70 percent end up not buying because of security," said Dowling. "If we could solve the problem, it would be very meaningful for businesses and consumers."