McAfee Site Advisor

In an earlier blog entry, I talked about the number of presentations I’d seen in 2007 from suppliers/vendors trying to sell my their latest/greatest products. Some of these presentations were good, some awful.

One of the better events I attended was at the West Midlands ICT Cluster in November and featured security vendor McAfee presenting a fascinating insight into how Viruses and Malware do their nasty work and showing the gathered techies how a machine infected with some of the more infamous Trojans and Worms can do their damage so quickly.

I consider myself a very security-savvy IT user, but to actually see how quickly a Virus can exploit a Security loophole really was an eye opener for me. From the demonstration, I could see just how easily a unsuspecting (or plain naive) end-user could be tricked into infecting their computer, and then how rapidly their now compromised machine could be exploited for further nastiness.

Every computer should have Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware packages installed, and they needn’t cost a penny. For home PC’s, I highly recommend the AVG Free Edition for Anti-Virus protection, and Microsoft’s own free Windows Defender product for Anti-Spyware safety. If you’re protecting a work computer (or any machine that will be used for Commercial purposes) then AVG Internet Security can cost as little as £15 for a 2 year subscription – feel free to drop me an e-mail for more details about licensing.

But even with Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware packages installed, your PC bang up to date with patches and fixes downloaded via Windows Update, there’s still a chance you (or more likely your Parents/Grandparents, Son/Daughter – especially if they are teenagers!) can visit a dodgy site and be tricked into clicking through something nasty which will infect their computer.

Therefore I was interested to see a demonstration of McAfee’s Site Advisor tool. Simply put, it will display a nice green tick for a trusted site, or a bright red cross against a known dodgy web-site therefore warning the end-user they may be visiting a site that opens them up to potential trouble. It’s a completely free download, works with Firefox and Internet Explorer, and works with addresses typed directly into the address bar or on lists of URL’s displayed by on web-pages – such as results from a Google Search.

At no cost I’d suggest that if like me you are the unpaid "IT Support Helpdesk" for your friends or family, then you get McAfee Site Advisor installed on their PC sooner rather than later, and save yourself some potential virus clean-up work!

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