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McAfee’s Site Advisor Misclassified As Anti-Phishing Product

McAfee has been compelled to withdraw its claims that a test by anti-phishing toolbars misrepresented one of its products. According to McAfee, it was unfair when in October Microsoft-sponsored report by researchers 3Sharp labeled the software incapable of detecting phishing websites. McAfee said the 'Site Advisor' version of the product was never designed to carry out that function.

The company said that 3Sharp did not put aside 'SiteAdvisor' from the study in spite of repeated requests. The result was that the software received an unusually low score of 3 out of 200.

In the debatable study called "Gone Phishing: Evaluating Anti-Phishing Tools for Window", 3Sharp tested McAfee's product against six more security toolbars from 'Internet Explorer', 'Mozilla', 'Netscape', 'eBay', 'EarthLink', 'GeoTrust', 'Google' and 'Netcraft'. In the Microsoft sponsored querulous report , the highest grades went to anti-phishing capabilities of Internet Explorer 7.0, leaving 'SiteAdvisor' at the lowest rank in the group.

Although the experiments in the study were thoroughly academic, the researchers gave no explanation to McAfee's inability to detect anti-phishing websites via 'SiteAdvisor'. This is considerably odd given that the other products have only modest abilities. The team never realized the fact that the software actually did not have any anti-phishing characteristics - regardless how McAfee website described it.

However, Paul Robichaux of 3Sharp posted a justification of the inclusion of 'SiteAdvisor' in a 'blog'. He wrote that because McAfee website mentioned the word "phishing" in its list of product features, that's why SiteAdvisor has been included in the study despite its terrible performance. Shane Keats of McAfee presented the company's position in his own 'blog' the same day, where he described McAfee's unhappiness at full length.

Keats said that they changed the website by erasing the word "phishing" after the 3Sharp test. McAfee brought in the change when it realized that an old FAQ (that was received before the acquisition of SiteAdvisor by McAfee) apparently with error needed revision. Keats admitted that prior to the inclusion of the McAfee in the test, 'SiteAdvisor' had offered an unspecified degree of anti-phishing safeguard features.

McAfee is now developing an anti-phishing tool for a fee. But it has not declared any details about the product as yet.

Related article: McAfee Alerts Windows about Accessibility Hole in Vista

» SPAMfighter News - 11/25/2006

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