We downloaded and installed SiteAdvisor Plus from the McAfee site, but we had some minor trouble. For example, if you have Firefox running the free SiteAdvisor on the same machine that has Internet Explorer running the paid SiteAdvisor Plus, we found the free version gave inconsistent results. The fact that two editions of SiteAdvisor can't coexist on the same machine struck us as odd. We also found that if you use the native browser within AOL or other branded browsers supplied by subscription services, you will need to open a separate instance of Internet Explorer to see the SiteAdvisor ratings. Other than that, we found SiteAdvisor played well with other antiphishing tools tested, including Linkscanner Pro, the Netcraft toolbar, and the native antiphishing tools within Firefox 2 and Internet Explorer 7. SiteAdvisor does not work with Opera. Because SiteAdvisor blocks access to a suspicious site, it often competed with Internet Explorer 7's own antiphishing protection, which is notoriously slow; in order to compare results, we had to disable SiteAdvisor to let IE7 process a page.
SiteAdvisor Plus has one configuration option, to turn on Protected Mode or not. Protected Mode is a password-enabled feature that automatically blocks access to dangerous sites. McAfee says this feature is designed for multiuser Windows systems--for example, parents blocking dangerous sites for minors--but we'd rather see SiteAdvisor block only the dangerous components on a site rather than block full access to the sites themselves. Should you ever want to remove SiteAdvisor, we found the uninstall process to be quick and clean. After restarting each test browser, we found all traces of SiteAdvisor were removed.
Unlike the Netcraft toolbar, which detects only suspected phishing sites as you access them, SiteAdvisor and Linkscanner Pro both display their safety ratings over your current Google or Yahoo search result page. SiteAdvisor does not work with Microsoft Live.com results. SiteAdvisor Plus also alerts you to suspicious links within e-mail and IM chats, a feature that none of the other secure browsing tools provided. But the heuristics within SiteAdvisor appeared to be off during our tests, a fact confirmed by McAfee. Thus, sites previously rated as clean but that have since been defaced still came up clean.