McAfee Offers “Plus” Version of SiteAdvisor

SiteAdvisor Plus LogoI was checking the details of a site that came up as a yellow site in SiteAdvisor today. I was surprised to see a screen open that was inviting me to pay for the “Plus” Version. It would seem that the acquisition of SiteAdvisor has finally resulted in McAfee trying to make some money out of it, which was always going to happen it was just a case of when and how.

SiteAdvisor is a great piece of security software that is a Firefox extension, there is also support for Internet Explorer. It classifies sites as green, yellow or red. It may be that a particular site is yellow because you will get a lot of spam from them by registering. Or that there are excessive pop-ups. Red because a browser exploit has been found on the page, or the downloads are infected with spyware or a virus. Green sites are okay at all levels. More about how it works can be found on the SiteAdvisor website.

The really cool part of this extension once installed; is that it flags these sites in the search results. Never end up on a site that could be a local disaster again. Next is the fact that if you are surfing a green site then green sites can only link to green sites. So a site cannot be green and link to a yellow one or red. Nice to know that where you are is safe and where you are going is safe. Not fool proof, it is only as good as the most recent test. But in my experience, coupled with a bit of common sense; it works.

So I wanted to check the status of a link that was not rated (it was from my Feed Reader) so I went to SiteAdvisor to input the URL and get the results and I get a screen come up with an offer to buy “SiteAdvisor Plus”. It might be worth noting that in small print it says “For Internet Explorer”. There was also the assurance that this screen would only come up once every 30 days, provided I keep my cookies (I don’t so I guess I will be seeing it again). I can not find the screen on the SiteAdvisor website, so it was lucky that I was thinking and took a screenshot and put it Flickr. The deal is that for $19:99 you get:

  • Checks of the safety of links in email and Instant Messages
  • Checks for phishing and identity theft scams in real time
  • “Protect Mode” which prevents interaction with dangerous sites

The software works with:

  • Outlook and Outlook Express
  • Yahoo Mail
  • MSN Mail/ Windows Live Mail (Hotmail)
  • Gmail
  • Yahoo! Messenger
  • MSN Messenger
  • GTalk

With the note that says “Also includes SiteAdvisor Firefox Extension”, thanks.

The $19:99 gives you a discount and is for single users. A “family pack” of three users will set you back $39:99. The features are great but does anyone else notice what is missing?

Where is the support for other IM clients? Or Thunderbird, or something other than corporate software? Notice the “NOTE” about Firefox at the bottom? The chance that there will be support? I would reckon about zero. The code is not open source for obvious reasons. So no chance for some open source team to develop it. A bit disappointing in my opinion. Then again anyone that uses IE all the time probably needs it more than me. But the email link checking would be a nice addition.

Still might be a good investment for you if you use the applications mentioned and especially if you have kids that use the computer. I have put friends onto SiteAdvisor and they have said that the kids use it very effectively and alert them if they accidentally end up somewhere they should not be. In addition to the fact that in recient times IM services have been targeted with links to either malicious sites or downloads so they are a good inclusion in such a package. Money well spent for peace of mind. Too bad there is no support for open source software.