Avast Readies Web Reputation Service

AVAST Software announces the upcoming version of its security products will have a Web reputation feature that allows users to rate websites based on trustworthiness.

Dubbed WebRep, the feature will be installed as a browser plug-in by the new avast! 6.0 products which have already entered a public beta testing phase.

The Czech antivirus vendor hopes to make WebRep the most accurate Web reputation service on the Internet with help from its community of over 146 million registered users.

However, the feature will not rely just on user input for ranking. Malware intelligence gathered from the avast! installation base will also play a role in a website's final reputation.

"The internet contains a huge mix of problematic websites ranging from fraudulent eshops which are technically clean from malware to honest sites that are infected.

"Both ends of the spectrum take a toll in lost time and money. WebRep puts these two elements together – business reputation and malware detection," explains Mr. Ondrej Vlcek, chief technology officer of AVAST Software.

Users will have the option to indicate the trustworthiness of a website by moving a website and also to select from ten categories it might fall into.

Categories like pornography, weapons/violence, gambling, alcohol/drugs and warez/illegal, are rated as risky because they are considered unsafe for children.

The WebRep plugin interfaces with search engines by adding a visual safety indicator next to each link in search results.

This means that even from the start the service can protect against search result poisoning attacks, also known as black hat search engine optimization (BHSEO).

"The sheer size of our CommunityIQ network means that on launch we will already have a lot of data available to help screen against prolific virus or malware sites," notes Mr. Vlcek.

At the moment, the WebRep feature is only available for Internet Explorer and Firefox, but the AVAST team is working on also adding support for Google Chrome until the final release.


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