Security firm Zscaler has launched Zulu, a free service that can scan sites for possible security threats.
The company said that the service would use a combination of proprietary and open-source tools to scan sites and provide security ratings based on a number of criteria.
The service supports direct URLs as well as addresses masked with URL shortening services.
Michael Sutton, Zscaler vice president of threat research, told V3 the aim of the Zulu service was to go beyond the reach of conventional URL-scanning tools.
Rather than analysing sites based solely on reputation, Zulu uses heuristics, reputation and host domain analysis to give pages a threat rating.
"We saw a lot of great tools out there, but they tended to be very niche," Sutton said.
"We wanted something that was looking at all types of web content."
The result, said Zscaler, is a service that can not only notify users when a site directly contains an attack, but also alert them when a site's host domain and servers have previously been associated with illegal or malicious activities.
While the service is being provided free of charge, Zscaler also views Zulu as a possible research opportunity.
In addition to exposing users to the brand name, the platform allows the company to collect additional data on domains and possibly spot attacks that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.
"We are giving away some great information so that anybody in the world has the ability to analyse content," Sutton explained
"The benefit we get back is that maybe somebody submits a malicious URL that we have not yet seen."
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