Yahoo and McAfee are teaming up to play traffic cop in the name of improving the security of Web searches.
The companies are launching a beta program for SearchScan, a new feature by Yahoo Search, powered by McAfee's SiteAdvisor technology. The feature alerts users of sites with spam, spyware, adware and other malicious software that can infect and damage a user's PC.
"What we're doing is bringing McAfee SiteAdvisor data around risks for sites on the Web and integrating it into ... Yahoo Search," said Priyank Garg, director of product management for Yahoo Search. "What we've done is take the data that we get from McAfee and use that to either remove [dangerous sites] from our searches or warn users about sites with risk."
Sites known to launch drive-by downloads will be among those blocked from search results altogether, Garg said.
McAfee SiteAdvisor tests and classifies Web sites on an ongoing basis for security issues such as exploits and spyware and can be downloaded as a plug-in to Firefox or Internet Explorer. During the beta, SearchScan will not include all McAfee SiteAdvisor red ratings. However, SearchScan will flag potentially risky sites with a red warning sign.
"We estimate right now that about 7.8 billion risky sites are served in search results a month - that's across all major search engines," said Tim Dowling, vice president of the Web Security Group at McAfee.
Yahoo is the second most popular search engine among U.S. users behind Google, accounting for slightly more than 21 percent of searches in March, according to the marketing analysis firm comScore.
Announced as a multi-year partnership, Garg indicated that there will be further collaboration between the two companies.
"I can tell you that this is a partnership that both McAfee and us are very excited about," Garg said. "We really feel that users will see us working together for a very long time."
SearchScan is available for Yahoo Search users in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Spain.