McAfee's Failure of Trust


Running a website is hard. Let me clarify - setting up a website is dead simple - keeping it running and updated is tricky.

Now, for some of us, it doesn't really matter whether our sites live or die. But for big companies like McAfee it's not simple to switch off a site - especially when they've promised to keep it running in perpetuity.

For some reason, the world's largest computer security company decided that what the world really needed was a brand new Link Shortner. Yup, to add to t.co, bit.ly, and all the thousands of other link squashers.

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Why? Security!

Because the McAf.ee service uses our Global Threat Intelligence database to check the links that you create, you can always be sure that you're using the latest information from McAfee Labs. No updating required!

Which, of course, leads to this.

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Spammers and scammers trade on the reputation of the name "McAfee" - those links have all been scanned for viruses. But would you describe them as trustworthy?

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McAfee makes a great play about how knowledgeable they are about the web. How they can thwart "naughty behaviour". The cornerstone of their product is trust.

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Sadly, McAfee either can't or won't invest the resources needed to monitor traffic in real-time. Sure, some of those spammy links may die after a day or so - but by then it's too late. The spammer is looking for an instant hit and, if the link is killed, creating a new one is no effort at all.

McAfee made its name protecting users from computer viruses. Today, threats are just as likely to include spam, social engineering, dodgy pharmaceuticals, and fraudulent services. McAfee, it appears, can't keep up with today's threats.

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Part of the problem here is that McAfee appears to have abandoned the site - last updating it 4 years ago.

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Its forums show no significant updates to the service for 3 years.

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McAfee have a problem. At this stage, it might be sensible to shut down their shortner service. The only problem is that they promised to keep it available forever.

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It is now clear that McAfee's good name has become a vector for abuse. Realistically, their only options are to stop accepting new links - or significantly increase funding to the site so that it can act as advertised.

To continue without change, further tarnishes the once proud McAfee name.

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