November 9, 2017

Yes, Wambooli is Quite Safe

Filed under: Main — Tags: , — admin @ 12:01 am

As I played with my new laptop, I stumbled across the various features offered. One was a free year of Office 365, which I’ve already paid for. Another was McAfee security. That’s where I learned a valuable lesson.

I generally don’t run anti-virus software beyond Windows Defender. My key concern is spyware and adware, which can slow down web browsing. Windows Defender does a great job searching out such infections, so I’m good with it.

For virus protection, I don’t do stupid things. I rarely download software from the web unless it’s from a site I trust. I’m ├╝ber careful when I click a “Download” link, as even on the safe sites, those links can be ads. Anyway, despite my caution, I thought I’d check out the McAfee WebAdvisor plugin for Chrome. I installed it easily, then continued using the web.

The WebAdvisor didn’t bother me that much — until I went to visit my own webpage, Wambooli. That’s when I saw the message shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. A message no website manager ever wants to see.

“Whiskey tango foxtrot,” I said, kinda. I know that my website had been compromised before, and I cleaned it up immediately. I recently updated to SSL security. As far as I knew, the site was safe, but who knows?

I clicked the awfully-named “Accept the Risk” button and examined my site. It was fine. Then I reviewed McAfee’s report. They claimed that this site was a harbinger of spyware and other nasty things. No way is that assertion true, so I emailed McAfee to ask them what’s up.

While I waited for a reply, I toured other sites on the Internet. Pretty much everywhere I visited was green-lit by WebAdvisor. So I went to a site that I know is infected. Surprising, McAfee flagged it as okay. That’s when I did a web search for WebAdvisor to see what The Internet thought of the software.

Long story short: No one recommends that you use WebAdvisor. The reasons are that many safe sites (such as Wambooli) are frequently flagged as unsafe, and many unsafe sites (such as the known-infected site I visited) are flagged as okay. The software doesn’t work.

Eventually, I received a reply to my request. Wambooli was green-lit and today the warning doesn’t appear when you visit the site. McAfee never reported why they believed my site to be malicious, so who knows what prompted that warning?

The only reason I installed WebAdvisor was curiosity. I’m glad I did. I practice smart and safe web browsing, so I don’t need a software tool telling me what to do. Yet, I’m fearful of people out there who want to visit sites and rely on plugins such as WebAdvisor. Not only is it flagging safe sites as unsafe, but it’s flagging unsafe sites as okay. That’s not a good thing.


  1. WebAdvisor, hmmm, I’m wondering if a fee has to paid to stay on the list once you are on?

    Comment by glennp — November 12, 2017 @ 2:08 am

  2. Not that I’m aware of, though it is kind of suspicious how this site was flagged. I asked for specifics but never received them. Again, another site I *know* is infected is listed as safe. Stupid software.

    Comment by admin — November 12, 2017 @ 7:24 am

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