Yahoo Adds Safety Alerts To Search

    May 6, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Yahoo opened the beta test of SearchScan in several countries to help safeguard people against potentially dangerous links in their search results.

Searchers may notice something different about the search results in Yahoo. The company partnered with security vendor McAfee, which runs the SiteAdvisor service, to power a new feature called SearchScan.

“While SearchScan will be on by default, users have control over how they use the feature,” said the Yahoo Search blog. “In preferences, users can choose to turn the feature off or choose to filter out all sites with warnings from their search results.”

SearchScan compares links with an index of ones it has checked for possible problems, like browser exploits, unsafe downloads, or just the likelihood the site spams visitors who give it an email address.

McAfee said its site ratings are based on automated safety tests of websites, and include feedback from volunteer reviewers and its analysts.

Yahoo’s Vish Makhijani, SVP & GM for their search engine, noted on the official Yahoo blog how they are the only search site providing this type of advance warning today. People will see these warnings appear in red with the listing SearchScan flags.

SearchScan should be of great benefit to people whose less than perfect spelling leads them to mistype a query, which could return a link or two that direct people to a dangerous website. Some scammers register incorrectly spelled domains in the hopes of bringing in visitors who hit a wrong letter or two.

Other search sites may want to consider similar initiatives. Google for one has been vexed for months with SEO poisoning attacks that drop links to infected pages into its listings. Their work with doesn’t seem to notice these links, and that’s not good for visitors.