Yahoo! has partnered up with McAfee to offer a new kind of web-based virus and spam protection.
The company, fresh off its failed merger talks with Microsoft, launched its new SearchScan program today. The program uses McAfee's SiteAdvisor technology to filter search results and alert you when it finds a potentially dangerous site.
"Our goal is to protect users by allowing them to make a more informed decision about the websites they visit," Product Managers Priyank Garg and Graham Mudd explained in their blog.
The new utility will automatically remove sites that are flagged for installing malware on visitors' computers. Sites that are known for only offering the option to download problematic programs will still be listed, but with a stern warning. The same goes for sites that may sell your email address and send you into spam hell.
"By displaying prominent warnings next to search results for sites with potentially dangerous downloads or unsavory email practices, users are aware that while visiting the site may be safe, downloading a file or sharing an email address could be risky," Garg and Mudd wrote.
I gave the program a whirl, and while its spam warning results may not be all-inclusive, it definitely does some good. A search for "free money" turned up one warning for unsolicited email danger. I had a hard time getting more than one or two warnings in any search, though, no matter how many obvious spam-centric sites I saw in the results.
The SearchScan option will now be turned on by default for all Yahoo! users. You can choose to deactivate it by checking off a tab in your preferences.