Yahoo and McAfee integrate security warnings into search

Yahoo and security vendor McAfee are collaborating on a new effort to help web search users avoid untrusted and known dodgy web sites.

A new feature within the Yahoo search service, launching in beta form today, will alert users if web sites listed in search results have been identified by McAfee as dangerous.

Users will see red warning signs on websites McAfee has deemed untrusted or compromised. These include those which have served spyware, adware or other types of malware. The feature, called SearchScan, will also flag those sites which have been involved in spamming.

SearchScan is being trialled on the UK skew of the Yahoo search service. Other countries with access to SearchScan include the US, France, Germany and Spain.

SearchScan uses a stripped down version of McAfee's SiteAdvisor technology, which uses icons to label safe or dangerous sites. As well as flagging up risky sites, it can also prevent websites which will harm the user's computer from appearing.

Vish Makhijani, senior vice president and general manager of Yahoo Search, said: "Through this partnership with McAfee, we can offer users a safer search experience and drive more users to make Yahoo Search their starting point on the Web."

The deal appears to be an attempt by Yahoo to persuade more users to surf using its search engine rather than Google's.

Yahoo is struggling to return to normal following Microsoft's aborted takeover attempt, which caused Yahoo's shares to fall sharply.

"Research indicates that four out of five web site visits start with a search, and users of Yahoo Search will now be alerted to high-risk web sites," said Tim Dowling, vice president of McAfee's security group.