Friday, August 15, 2008

McAfee Site Advisor having problems with AOL email links, in some environments


Recently, emails that I have received from some other AOL addresses and that I view when I send them (from the Sent queue) show a red “x” with “McAfee SiteAdvisor Warning: this email contains potentially unsafe links to these sites” and the site is aol.com!, when I view them on my Dell desktop with XP Home Edition (Service Pack 3).

Then, below the email text an appended link to shopping.aol.com, with a specific sublink for some product (like auto sales). Whatever that sublink, McAfee generates the red-level warning. This happens on my XP Home Edition machine.

On another machine, an XP Professional Inspiron laptop, McAfee does not generate the warnings on these links, even if they were generated on the Home edition machine. It does not generate the warning when the links are visited on the Inspiron even if the email was generated on the Home Edition machine.

It appears that AOL is always generating some sort of shopping link at the bottom of the emails these days, wherever the mail comes from (dialup or web-embedded). But in some operating environments but not others, McCaffee interprets these links as being from phishing sites. In these same environments, the shopping.aol.com link by itself (without a sublink) does not generate the warning and register Green.

It does seem that McAfee Site Advisor sometimes performs inconsistently, and sometimes is down altogether.

One other AOL complaint: I wish it would not let you send an email with "No Subject." See the comment in my next post about Blogger entries with "no title."

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