McAfee announced Wednesday that it had acquired Boston-based SiteAdvisor to add complementary defenses for customers surfing the Internet.
Early last month, the privately-held SiteAdvisor launched free Internet Explorer and Firefox plug-ins that reveal dangerous Web sites listed by popular search engines, including Google, MSN, and Yahoo, before users click on a link.
At the time, chief executive Chris Dixon blasted traditional security companies like McAfee as leaving "a big hole in consumers' Web safety armor because they don't know what's safe to click in the first place."
In a statement Wednesday, Dixon sang a different tune. "We're excited about the ability to bring SiteAdvisor's Web safety protection to existing and new McAfee users," Dixon said in a statement. "We can't think of a better partner to help take SiteAdvisor to the next level."
With SiteAdvisor's plug-in installed, users see green, yellow, or red tags beside hits in search results on Google, MSN, and Yahoo. The tags -- red represents sites that heavily spam visitors, host spyware and adware, or hijack browser home pages -- give users a heads-up before they click.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but a McAfee spokesman touted the addition as a complement to existing security products from the Santa Clara, Calif. company.
"While McAfee focuses on incoming threats. SiteAdvisor [serves] as a shield for users as they roam online," the spokesman said in an e-mail. "It's not just the same philosophy as McAfee; it broadens the protection that the company is able to provide."
On the SiteAdvisor Web site, Dixon promised that the plug-ins would remain available and free to existing and new users. The plug-ins can be downloaded from SiteAdvisor.
"McAfee will be working with us to accelerate feature development and bring you new ways to use SiteAdvisor," Dixon added.