The latest version, with a new feature called Secure Search, is designed to make searching even safer - but the restrictions McAfee Site Advisor places on surfing may be too severe for some users.

McAfee Site Advisor is a browser plug-in (for Firefox and Internet Explorer) that puts coloured icons next to your search results so you know the status of the site before you click on the link: green for safe, yellow for caution, and red for risky.

The update adds a Secure Search box to your browser toolbar, so you can, say, exclude red sites from search results but retain all yellow alerts. This box works only with Yahoo's search engine, however (not too compelling in the UK, where one of the most popular searches on Yahoo is for 'Google').

Such options aren't for everyone. Though blocking risky sites from kids or novices may be a sensible idea, other web surfers will want all search results to be listed - dangerous or not. (And McAfee Site Advisor isn't always 100 percent accurate: PC Advisor is aware of at least one legitimate site that for a time was blacklisted by the service.)

McAfee Site Advisor now also labels some sites as "McAfee SECURE" - meaning more thoroughly tested and branded safe.

OUR VERDICT

If you stick with Google, Secure Search will have little benefit. But you can still access the ratings. McAfee Site Advisor remains worth installing - and it is free, after all.