Yahoo Bans Bad Sites from Search Results

Yahoo has taken a major step in removing malicious sites from its search results.

Yahoo Bans Bad Sites from Search Results - This April 30, 2008 file photo shows an exterior view of Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif. Microsoft Corp. has withdrawn its $42.3 billion bid to buy Yahoo Inc., scrapping an attempt to snap up the tarnished Internet icon in hopes of toppling online search and advertising leader Google Inc. The decision to walk away from the deal came Saturday May 3, 2008 after last-ditch efforts to negotiate a mutually acceptable sale price proved unsuccessful.
(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File) Yahoo Inc. and McAfee Inc. are joining to offer alerts about potentially dangerous Web sites alongside search results generated at

With the new security feature — slated to take effect Tuesday — people who search the Internet using Yahoo will see a red exclamation point and a warning next to links McAfee has identified as serving dangerous downloads or using visitors’ e-mail addresses to send out spam. Dangerous downloads can include “adware,” which shows unwanted advertisements; “spyware,” which secretly tracks users’ keystrokes and other actions; and other malicious programs that can give criminals control over users’ computers.


Yahoo has decided to simply nuke the worst offenders — sites that attempt “drive-by downloads,” or trying to automatically install malicious code on visitors’ computers by exploiting coding flaws in their Web browsers. If McAfee has identified a site as having employed such tactics, Yahoo users won’t see the link at all.

Since Yahoo has only 21 percent of the search engine market, user benefit will be relatively small unless people change their habits in droves. Of course, one would expect market leader Google to step up with a similar feature very soon.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Michael says:

    Or you could just use software that doesn’t let you infect yourself with all that crap.

    I don’t trust McAfee with anything.