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Reliable Contributor Hayton
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Message 1 of 5

(Re-titled) icasualties.org rated Red by siteAdvisor

EDIT - In the light of SafeBoot's reply and clarification below this post needs to be modified and the thread re-titled. Original text no longer relevant or correct will be left in place but will be struck through.

The news and media website icasualties.org has been monitoring casualties (US/Allied) in Iraq and now Afghanistan for the past 10 years. All it is is a site full of graphs and statistics plus a list of all those who have died as a result of service in those countries.

It has been rated Green all the the time I've been viewing it. A couple of times the site has come under DDoS attack from those who perceive it to be "unpatriotic", but the last such attack was quite a while ago.

This morning the site is rated Red by SiteAdvisor and TrustedSource, with the reason baldly stated as "Politics/Opinion".

SA pop-up Red.PNG

That was my mistake, derived from the category appearing on the Google Search pop-up window (above) as if it explained the reason for the blacklisting. I should know by now.

SA censorship.PNG

First, the site itself is apolitical and offers no commentary on events in Afghanistan. It has an RSS feed of news stories relating to Afghanistan and Pakistan but there is no editorial content. So, this rating is incorrect and totally spurious

I still believe the rating is probably incorrect, I can find no supporting evidence of malware on the site

Second, why is this rating in TrustedSource and SiteAdvisor?  SiteAdvisor has no business blocking any site simply because it discusses political events or offers a political opinion. THAT AMOUNTS TO CENSORSHIP.

I withdraw that assertion (that SiteAdvisor effectively can censor a news site) because it seems not to be true.

Third, how did this rating come to be applied to icasualties.org? The site is not blacklisted anywhere, and it is malware-free. The statement about "security risks" is completely bogus when used in conjunction with the "Politics/Opinion" rating; and that rating can only have been applied because someone has manipulated and misused the site-rating system. This kind of rating cannot be objectively verified by any kind of site testing; it is a subjective opinion.

In allowing the rating to be changed in this way McAfee is, in my opinion, condoning an attack on the freedom of the press.

Just this once, I'm going to get angry.

I demand that the rating be revoked.

There. As you can see, the post required some extensive modification simply because I mistook the Site Descriptor in a Google Search Red pop-up for the reason for the block itself. One mistake spawned several more, apparently entirely logically. What we're left with is a site that is Red for no reason that I can yet find.

With apologies to anyone who thinks the original should have been left intact but followed later by a massive mea culpa.

Message was edited by: Hayton on 02/12/13 16:56:45 GMT

Message was edited by: Hayton - add new screenshot - on 02/12/13 17:18:09 GMT
4 Replies
Reliable Contributor SafeBoot
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Message 2 of 5

Re: Misuse of SiteAdvisor for censorship

let's split this question into two though so we can understand more what's going on

1. Why is it rated as politics/opinion ?

I think this is a pretty reasonable category match - not perfect, but given the 120 different categories, not too far off the mark. You can suggest a category change from the usual links though

2. Why is it being blocked?

Looking at Trustedsource.org, the domain has a red reputation - this is NOT because of the category, it's because of some percieved evil its been up to - http://www.mcafee.com/threat-intelligence/domain/default.aspx?domain=icasualties.org

Now, this could be a false positive through one of the trusted feeds we use, or it could be a legitimate compromise of the site

So again, it's not being blocked because of its category - that's just "for information" as far as your browser plugin is concerned. It's being blocked because it has a bad reputation in terms of threats to you/your PC.

The "REASON" it's being blocked is because of "security risks" - the category is just FYI.

on 12/2/13 10:00:46 AM EST

Message was edited by: SafeBoot on 12/2/13 10:25:24 AM EST
Reliable Contributor Hayton
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Message 3 of 5

(Re-titled) icasualties.org rated Red by siteAdvisor

SafeBoot wrote:

...  it's not being blocked because of it's category - that's just "for information" as far as your browser plugin is concerned. Its being blocked because it has a bad reputation in terms of threats to you/your PC.

Good point. I totally accept that, and I of all people should not have made that elementary mistake.

As for what those "security risks" are, the site comes up clean using all the checkers I've used so far. The only anomaly is that while US sites seem to be able to connect to it (and the 'isitdown' sites insist that it's functioning) I cannot get through to it from the UK.

Edit - Now that things have been calmed down (I apologise for the earlier scenes of drama) we're left with a standard case of this-site-is-rated-Red-but-why.

Message was edited by: Hayton on 02/12/13 16:52:35 GMT
Reliable Contributor SafeBoot
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Message 4 of 5

Re: (Re-titled) icasualties.org rated Red by siteAdvisor

Hayton - I very much appreciate the effort you put in to clarify your original post. I totally understand your initial reaction though - maybe the "classification" should not be on the popup at all....

It's a subject close to my heart as I'm currently working on a project to do exactly what you feared - make moral judgements on sites. It's targeting the "connected home" environment though, giving parents the ability to block categories of content on their children's iPads etc.

As an aside - Site Advisor Enterprise and MWG have exactly this feature already - enterprise admin's can block any category for their users. Yes, it's a moral judgement, but in this case it's controlled by the company admin not McAfee. We try and stay out of such policy decisions other than straight security risk.

spc3rd
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Message 5 of 5

(Re-titled) icasualties.org rated Red by siteAdvisor

Good afternoon everyone,

     After seeing Hayton's edited post(s), I deleted my original reply.  However, after performing my own security checks of the website in question...I do concur with Hayton's assessment. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Message was edited by: Hayton : sory, Pete C, the thread has a new title now - on 02/12/13 17:15:22 GMT

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