May 15, 2006 3:10 PM PDT

Service promises secure 'googling'

A Web-filtering specialist has joined the ranks of companies aiming to take the risk of spyware and adware downloads out of online searches.

ScanSafe will officially launch next week a trial version of a new service that adds labels to the results of popular search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, to identify good sites and call out malicious ones. The free service, dubbed Scandoo, analyzes search results in real time and then adds a green checkmark for clean Web sites and displays an image of a bug next to potentially risky ones.

Search engines don't just link to trusted Web sites. Queries also serve up links to sites that install malicious software or display unwanted content. Each month, U.S. Internet users click on about 285 million unsafe links, according to a McAfee study released last week. Security companies are looking to tackle this problem with products and services.

The new ScanSafe service is similar to McAfee's SiteAdvisor, which also tells Web searchers whether their search results include sites associated with spyware, adware, spam and browser attacks. But SiteAdvisor requires the installation of software, while Scandoo requires people to enter their search query on the Scandoo Web site. It also has a toolbar in the works.

Symantec is working on a product similar to SiteAdvisor as part of its next generation of security software, the company has said.

On average, 3.1 percent of links that appear in search results pose a risk, according to McAfee. This jumps to as much as 72 percent of results for popular queries such "free screensavers," "digital music," and "singers," the security company said.

Scandoo currently works with Google. MSN Search will be added by the end of the week, and Yahoo and Ask are slated to follow in the coming weeks, a representative for London-based ScanSafe said Monday.

See more CNET content tagged:
ScanSafe, search result, security company, Internet search, McAfee Inc.

4 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Another Anti-Virus Product?
Shouldn't this just be included in some antispyware or antivirus program? It doesn't make sense to have 15 scan engines running to protect your PC when you should be able to have it integrated into 1 service.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Isn't this more about the search itself?
From what I understand, Scandoo is actually scanning the search results in real-time and telling you that there's spyware *before* you click there - if you know that there's spyware, you a) are safer and b) you know something about the site itself. Seems like hoping that your 1, 2 or 10 AV programs will detect and block spyware on an unknown site is kind of like playing russian roulette. What if my PC software didn't get an update today, or the update doesn't detect some new threat?
Posted by dxnolte (2 comments )
Link Flag
Another Anti-Virus Product?
Shouldn't this just be included in some antispyware or antivirus program? It doesn't make sense to have 15 scan engines running to protect your PC when you should be able to have it integrated into 1 service.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Isn't this more about the search itself?
From what I understand, Scandoo is actually scanning the search results in real-time and telling you that there's spyware *before* you click there - if you know that there's spyware, you a) are safer and b) you know something about the site itself. Seems like hoping that your 1, 2 or 10 AV programs will detect and block spyware on an unknown site is kind of like playing russian roulette. What if my PC software didn't get an update today, or the update doesn't detect some new threat?
Posted by dxnolte (2 comments )
Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.