McAfee’s “Malicious Defamation on Innocent Websites:” NaturalNews Paid McAfee $32K to Clear Website Reputation – “Gangs of Online Paid Trolls”

A couple of days ago I posted about the false-positive warning McAfee has had on my site, Maggie’s Notebook, for months. I’m asking you not to stop reading until you learn how McAfee makes the decision to ruin a blog’s reputation. See it below in purple text. Today I’ve learned that I’m not the only one, and specifically I’m not the only one flagged who has NO malicious coding or links on my site. Natural News, a very successful site, was flagged for the same reasons I am flagged. After Natural News posted the following headline, they heard from McAfee.

Cyber_Bullying_Trolls_1

“…malicious defamation on innocent websites”

McAfee asked Natural News for $38,000.00 to remove the flags. They settled for $32,000.00 According to Natural News, the red flags were gone in minutes.

How the McAfee slander machine works

McAfee’s “web reputation” technology is based on a user rating system called “Site Advisor.” You can see the NaturalNews.com false red flag rating at:

http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/naturalnews…

Site Advisor’s scores are derived from users who sign up to be “site reviewers.” The ratings from these “site reviewers” are then TRUSTED by McAfee to be accurate, regardless of whether they are accurate or not.

This faulty reputation structure allows gangs of online paid trolls (so-called “anti-P.R. companies”) to game the system and coordinate a campaign of submitting negative ratings for any targeted website (such as Natural News).

McAfee then multiplies the effects of this trolling campaign by claiming such troll ratings to be accurate and true, thereby flagging completely innocent sites as being “malicious” or containing “security risks” when, in reality, it has been nothing more than the subject of a carefully planned and orchestrated troll assault that uses the McAfee Site Advisor system.

McAfee, in other words, willfully allows its technology to be used by oppressive hate speech groups to censor quality website content by falsely flagging it as “malicious.” Source: Natural News

In other words, a McAfee customer can asked to be a Site Advisor. When a “site advisor” decides I am unsafe (as in spreading conservative thought or disagreeing their their ideology), they flag me and it’s pretty-much over for my blog. No one has to prove a thing.

After I wrote this post about my situation, Grumpy at Grumpy Opinions ran a few detection services on my behalf. He ran a Sucuri check on Maggie’s Notebook and posted about it. I’m told Sucuri has an excellent reputation. Here’s the result:

Sucuri_Maggies_Notebook_Grumpy_1

As you can see, they show the McAfee warning and then show that Google, Norton, Phish Tank, Opera browser, Yandex, ESET and Sucuri’s own malware tools show Maggie’s Notebook completely clean.

No. I am not a McAfee user. Yes, I have contacted them over and over. The night I wrote the post you’ll find here, I heard from them with an automated response and a Ticket number.

Please note, there is no set turn-around time for requests submitted to this email address. For quicker turn-around, please submit URLs through Trusted Source Ticketing System with your comment at the following link. Requests submitted through your registered account will be processed within 3-5 business days while some requests may take longer.

For URL Submission: https://www.trustedsource.org/?p=mcafee

While I have submitted numerous times through “trustedsource.org,” I do not have a registered account, and plan to never have a registered account. You should do the same. I have spoken to Technical Support by phone and while the woman was very nice and polite, she was extremely difficult to understand. Short story, I was told to go to Site Advisor and submit my concerns by email (which I have done over and over). No, Site Advisor cannot be reached by telephone.

One more thing: the warning on Site Advisor about Maggie’s Notebook  points to Blogads as my problem, and to be clear, Blogads is not the problem, and because of McAfee, Blogads has not been on my site for months. BUT here’s the story: McAfee says they “haven’t tested it [Blogads] yet,” and by their own admission they “don’t have enough information,” but flagged me anyway. Many, many sites use Blogads as an advertising source. They are completely reputable.

Linked at Dustbury who has had his own online problems in the past and had to pull out his wallet to get it fixed. Read it here.

Linked at Viewpoints of a Sagitarrian – thanks so much for your support!

Linked at Grumpy Opinions. Grumpy has given me so much help with this matter. I am entirely grateful for his friendship and his blog here, which hits the hottest headline with excellent commentary.

Linked at What Bubba Know – he knows that a Florida court says colleges cannot ban guns. Read it here.

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  • Kado

    Thanks Maggie. No McAfee for me. Keep up your tenacious good work.

    • Kado, thank you so much for reading and for the encouragement.

  • Maggie: I just wrote an article called “hacking freedom” about these hate-mongers called trolls. Their goal is very simple, to silence any opinion that differs from their own. I don’t have ads on my site but I did have malicious code that was caught immediately by Site Lock and now between the and fat Cow they have cleaned the site up. I can navigate to it from Google Chrome or other search engines. But your case sounds like corporation malice mixed with corporate stupidity. They are right in line for a class-action suit, seems to me. You need to find out how many other conservative sites have been targeted. Perhaps we can go after the trolls and see how they like spending years in a dark cell. They should enjoy it, don’t you think?

    • Norma, I’ll be back later today to comment.

  • Earl

    I don’t use McAfee’s products and tried to never use them. I use AVG’s paid version and am able to view your site no problem. I am sorry that you are having so much trouble with them about unblocking your website as it is one of the many great blogs out there

    • Earl, cannot tell you how much I appreciate those kind words about my site. It helps to know that other people notice and care and say so.

      Thank you.

  • Where I come from what McAfee is doing is called extortion. A felony in every state and federally. How about someone suing them for it.

    BTW did you know it is snowing on your site?

    • findalis, yes I did see the snow! Funny thing about it, it’s snowing outside my home window. Wonder how that happens? Natural News is gearing up to sue and they are using the word “extortion.”

  • Maybe we should use our extended reach and get oh I dunno, maybe 25,000-30,000 people to join McAfee and flag McAfee’s site every morning

    .. or better yet, hit MMFA, OFA, Whitehouse,gov, Slate, The New Republic, Daily Kos, Salon and Huffy..

    And just to be sure McAfee get’s the love they deserve, we can include Holder’s DOJ on the list..

    • Grumpy, that could work if conservatives could stomach it.

      • That’s true, most conservatives think it’s unethical to fight sewer rats, with sewer rat rules

        • Grumpy, it’s just not in our DNA. Sometimes I very proud of that, other times I’m thinking it’s time to get in the dirt.

  • When you first mentioned this I run my detection app and nothing was found. It allows me to test my browser while on your site. It’s called bitdefender and it’s free for Mac at the App Store. Sounds like McAfee has quite a racket going. Sounds like extortion to me. Angel at Woman Honor Thyself had this problem a year ago. I think enough of us ignored it that it went away on it’s own. It was another third party report that meant nothing.

    • Woodsterman, I’ll definitely look into bitdefender. I thought Woman was actually infected. I remember after she was away for a very long time sending her an email saying how much we missed her – and for some reason, she came back. Such a good thing.

      • Some said she was infected, but I couldn’t detect it. It may have been a PC only bug too.

  • I hired Sucuri to keep an eye on my site. They do an extremely thorough job, and I trust their findings.

  • I see that McAfee also resorts to another scam, billing people’s credit cards without permission.

    http://www.pchell.com/virus/uninstallmcafee.shtml

    I know this to be a violation of the law because many years ago I made a donation to my State’s Sheriff’s Assoc. Then I discovered that they were automatically renewing my “membership” every year. I guess they figured I wouldn’t notice the $15 charge on my credit card.

    I complained to the credit card company and a few days later I got a frantic letter from the Sheriff’s Assoc. begging me to withdraw the complaint because I wouldn’t want them to get into legal trouble because they were doing such good deeds for the law enforcement community.

    In effect, they wanted me to lie and tell the credit card company I was mistaken and had approved the charges when I never did and they had never said the “one time” donation would auto-renew indefinitely.

    I threw the letter in the trash. Scoundrels!

    • Whoopie, that article is a stunning repudiation of McAfee. I’ll find a way to link it up. Along with the cc billing, he uninstalled McAfee, and used a program he uses daily, and McAfee blocked it, and categorized it a virus! He thought McAfee was gone – and he was no longer paying for it. It sounds like McAfee is the real virus.

      I can tell your sheriff’s organization is not run by Sheriff Joe. Honestly, we have to be so on-top of everything, to keep from being cheated out of everything, that it’s unbelievable there is time to work. Thanks for that link.

  • Xavier

    I’ll install McAfee this evening and note which sites trigger an alarm. The results may be interesting. It would be nice if one of the large aggregators picked this article up, like BadBlue or Drudge. Glad you’re finally getting to the bottom of this mess, Maggie. I know it’s caused you a lot of grief.

  • Xavier

    Arrrgh! This is try #2, the first locked up and the comment is now one with the winds of yesteryear. Probably tl;dr anyway. 😉

    First, you can go to http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/maggiesnotebook.com and click on the “Request a Review” button; this will lead to another page where you – yes, you! – can rate this site. I suggest you select “Safe”. Also you can leave a comment.

    Plus you can go to http://www.siteadvisor.com/userfeedback.html. Ignore User ID and beside Type of inquiry select “Submit a site for (re)testing. Again, you can comment.

    I’ve installed SiteAdvisor and it’s trying try scare me into not visiting. Let’s swamp McAfee with polite but firm requests for retesting and a detailed explanation of any issues they found. I intend to write them daily until this is resolved.

    As a former tech support guy, I can attest that “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

    • Xavier, so sorry you have problems commenting today. I’m blame it on McAfee:-) Unfortunately, I have done all of the above over the past months. Just did it again. Did it yesterday too. I think they dump it if you are not a customer. You are a McAfee customer and what you do will be 100X more productive than what I do, and I say that only because I have tried for so long. THANK YOU for stepping out on my behalf and I really, really mean that.

      • Xavier

        Maggie, I’d like to ask everyone who reads this article to write a note to McAfee using the links in my comment above, and keep writing (daily if possible) until this is resolved. I’ve also contacted them through a TrustedSource account – as you know, this is McAfee’s preferred contact point for resolving SiteAdvisor issues – and anyone, not just the site owner, can open one of these accounts. You’ll have to provide a valid email address and a contact name. We can also write directly to McAfee Corporate Headquarters at http://www.mcafee.com/us/about/contact-us.aspx.

        Anyone using the http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/maggiesnotebook.com PLEASE remember to rate the site “Safe”.

        Btw, I cycle through every major SOHO antimalware package to test compatibility and evaluate for my customers. None have ever triggered on this site until SiteAdvisor.

        • Xavier, thanks for that and for your involvement on my behalf. Also, thanks for letting me know all of you tests are coming up clean. I installed the Mac bitdefender that Woodsterman referred me too, and it also showed I was completely clean and safe. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your time.

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  • Lester Scruggs

    It is a concerted effort by the leftist who are communists. (Not everyone on the left is communists.)

    Folks its pretty much official now. We live in a police state. Just yesterday I wrote a post on facebook about Obama and his conduct at the Mandela funeral. Nothing scathing….just the facts and his odd behaviour. Then Someone commented about the fake sign language guy beside the president and I said yeah this president is so Inept that even the Secret Service doesnt know who is around the president. My FB was suspended and Im now expecting the SS, FBI and homeland security to destroy my life.

    Yahoo, Google and Facebook are infamous for giving the Secret Police every tidbit of information about your life. With the destruction of religous freedom in this country it is quite apparent to me that we are fast moving in the direction of socialist and then communist mantra.

    It is time to stop sharing your personal life on the internet. It its time to start blacklisting these companies that pander to rather then resist obstruction of freedoms guaranteed in the constitution.

    Facebook, Google are two of the greatest fans of making sure you believe what they want you to believe.

    God Bless America.

    • Lester Scruggs, This morning I heard that Facebook is stepping up a program to promote ObamaCare. I was instantly furious. Before reading your post, I told my husband (who is not on Facebook) that I simply should not be there. Many of my readers come from Facebook. I do little that is personal. All of my connection to FB is political. I have certainly said things about Obama but I have never been put in FB prison. Many friends have. As I read your comment, I thought you were reading my mind. I have some decisions to make. I know there are alternative and they can be all that FB is, if we make it happen. Thanks much for sharing your story here.

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