Advertising company sues McAfee over SiteAdvisor warning
Internet advertising company 7search.com is suing security specialist McAfee for damages. The cause of the dispute is an entry in the McAfee SiteAdvisor domain analysis service, which warns that, "Downloads on this site may contain what some people would consider adware, spyware, or other potentially unwanted programs." According to the filed complaint (PDF), no direct downloads have been available from 7search.com since at least 2003, indeed SiteAdvisor does not in fact list any dubious downloads on the domain. The classification is based solely on feedback from users. 7search.com is therefore accusing McAfee of "unfair business practices", damage to its reputation and is demanding damages.
7search is connected to the controversial BrowserAccelerator search toolbar for Internet Explorer, also sometimes known as 7FaSSt, which, according to analysts, sends user statistics to fstrack.7search.com. Some security companies, such as Kaspersky and Computer Associates, classify the 7search toolbar as adware or spyware.
BrowserAccelerator is currently being actively distributed via the domains browseraccelerator.com and 7metasearch.com. According to information on the site 7metasearch.com is a service provided by EMERgency 24 Inc. and 7Search Inc. Both domains are hosted by servers in the same IP subnet and the administrative contact for both domains is identical. In addition, both links and publisher's details on 7metasearch.com refer to 7search.com.
McAfee SiteAdvisor generates a domain report from its own analysis and user reports and warns of dubious or dangerous content. It is well-known that SiteAdvisor can occasionally go over the top and mark legitimate domains as potentially dangerous. For a while it was even classifying heise.de as suspicious due to heise Security's harmless browsercheck.