When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

01 March 2006

SiteAdvisor goes Live (Free Preview)

The promising web startup SiteAdvisor, which we've blogged about before, is finishing up their beta period and announcing a three-month-long Free Preview today.

SiteAdvisor's mission is simple: they trawl the web, 24/7, looking for "unsafe" sites (sites that will attempt to load spyware or other software badness on your PC, or that will result in a deluge of spam if you sign up for information.)

When you sign up with SiteAdvisor, you install a little piece of software that resides quietly in your browser (Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox), and then as you search or surf, the SiteAdvisor indicator checks in with the "bad sites" database and changes color to alert you to signs of potential trouble. (Green is good; yellow indicates a need for caution; red is bad.)

I've been using SiteAdvisor since mid-January, as a beta tester, and am happy to report that it's functioning flawlessly.

If you know anyone who has a PC full of spyware or similar problems, tell them to do all of these things, in this order.
  1. Stop using Internet Explorer forever, and switch to Mozilla Firefox.

  2. Get rid of whatever security software (if any) they're currently using, as it clearly isn't working. (In most versions of Windows, go to the Add/Remove Programs control panel and get that crap off your system.)

  3. Download and install AVG AntiVirus (totally free.)

  4. Download and install Microsoft AntiSpyware (free through at least July 2006)

  5. Download and install the Free Edition of ZoneAlarm Firewall.

    (Alternate to steps 3-5: If you'd like one piece of commercial software, with technical support, to do anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall duties for you, I can't recommend buying and installing Zone Alarm Security Suite highly enough - about $50.)

  6. And finally, to help them keep things clean as a whistle--especially if there are kids in the house who might do things like download music from peer-to-peer networks--urge them to give SiteAdvisor a try, and spend five minutes making sure everyone in the house knows how to use it.
There's no offense like an excellent defense, they say (and they're right.)

Also, check out the SiteAdvisor Blog for amusingly told True Horror Stories from the world of Web Badness.
Related: SiteAdvisor: The Web's Download Disasters (enrevanche)

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