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Inaccurate McAfee Message on PRWeb Results in the Yahoo! Search Engine

Note (7/1 @ 5:02 PM ET) – As of 12AM this morning, the situation has been resolved.  Thanks to both the teams at McAfee as well as Yahoo! for helping us rectify the situation in an efficient manner.

In the past day, some customers may have noticed the PRWeb hosted version of their news release showing up in the Yahoo! search results with a flag indicating that there may be harmful downloads associated with their news release URL.

This flag is the result of a new beta feature that Yahoo! has released, in conjunction with McAfee, to screen their search results for harmful or malicious sites.  A closer look at the the detailed McAfee profile in the drill down clearly states that there “aren’t any significant problems” with PRWeb.com or with any of the releases hosted on the site.

In researching the matter, we have observed an indication that one file on PRWeb.com has been flagged in the McAfee report although the individual file doesn’t impact our overall site’s rating.  This file was an attachment from a release originally distributed in 2003.  We have reviewed that file and determined it to be safe and also freely available for download from several free download sites.  It was mistakenly diagnosed and flagged by McAfee and we believe this may be contributing to the Yahoo! search results flag.  As a precaution we have removed this file down from the PRWeb server.

We are currently in the process of reaching out to both Yahoo! and McAfee and expect a swift resolution to this issue.

Update 7/29 @ 12:31 PM (ET) – We have received the following response from Yahoo!

I understand that you have concerns regarding a “Dangerous Downloads” warning listed on your site in the Yahoo! Search Results.  I would like to apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Yahoo! SearchScan is powered by McAfee.  McAfee provides safety data within Yahoo! Search results to indicate potentially harmful websites.   If your domain shows a warning that you disagree with, it is important that you contact McAfee directly, so they can provide an analysis of your domain.

In fact, we did contact McAfee as soon as we saw the issue and have received the following:

This site (prweb.com) has been queued for a full retest.  Please note that any change (if warranted) may take up to 8 weeks to reflect.  We thank you for your continued patience.

Rest assured, we are not satisfied with these answers and are continuing to move forward to get this situation resolved as quickly as possible.

Update 7/29 @ 4:09 PM (ET) – We have received a direct response from direct contacts at both McAfee as well as Yahoo! and they have both mentioned they will investigate the situation in more depth however no direct actions as of yet.

Update 7/29 @ 5:29 PM (ET) – We have been in ongoing communications with McAfee, who have been very active in working with us to resolve the issue.  They have reportedly updated their records.  It may take a little while to circulate through their system.  They are also reaching out to Yahoo! to see if the Yahoo! data can be refreshed.

Update 7/30 @ 10:21 AM (ET) – We made more inroads with the Yahoo! Web search team last night.  They are fully aware of the situation and looking into solutions.  Also received notification from the team who originally contacted me over at McAfee, saying it was being escalated, however I think the McAfee team has already updated the data and is doing everything they can to reach out to Yahoo!   Meanwhile, Online Media Daily has published a story on the ongoing situation.  Hoping for a resolution by the end of today.  Even if all the data is updated on the Yahoo! side, I would think it would take a while to work it’s way through their vast system.

Update 7/30 @ 3:43 PM (ET) – The Yahoo! Web search team has been able to remove the flag from some of our results.  For example, the main top-level domain PRWeb.com is no longer showing the warning sign however there are other URL(s) that continue to show the warnings including several of our sub-domains.  The Yahoo! team is continuing to work to clear out the remainder of the warning signs.

Update 8/1 @ 4:32 PM (ET) – As of 12:39 AM (ET) this morning, Yahoo! reported all search results have been successfully updated.  Thanks to both the McAfee and Yahoo! teams for mobilizing and helping us achieve resolution to this situation!

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