An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

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August 3, 2006

Malware Warnings on Google Search Results

Someone sent me a very nice tip: Google started to show malware warnings for some of the search results. If you search for list keygen mirc (which is a bad thing, but mIRC should be free anyway), and click on the first result, Google will display this page:


Of course, you can still go to the page, but Google warned you.

Google and Sun Microsystems fund a non-profit anti-spyware group called StopBadware and this is one of Google's contributions to the project. "StopBadware.org was established in an effort to preserve this positive ability to generate and share information by exploring ways to solve the badware problem. With the advice and input of a panel of internet experts, we isolated seven categories of behaviors that many users reported as unwanted in software they download: deceptive installations, unclearly identification, causing harm to other computers, modifying other software, transmitting user data, interfering with computer use, and being difficult to uninstall completely."

It's interesting to see if the list of results that include malware has been compiled manually or algorithmically. Google usually doesn't like the manual approach.

There are many solutions that provide safety ratings for sites. One of the most popular is SiteAdvisor, a plug-in for Internet Explorer and Firefox. When you search with Google, SiteAdvisor displays different colors (green, yellow, red) next to the search results to show you if they are safe.

{ Thanks for the tip, Anoymous. }

76 comments:

  1. So, would Norton products fall under the "difficult to uninstall completely" category?

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  2. Didn't get any warning page...

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  3. My site (hackzone.us) is absolulty clean but included into stopbadware.org database. Don't understand why. StopBadware support don't answer to my email

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  4. "Warning

    The site Hack Zone (http://www.hackzone.us/ ) has been determined by StopBadware.org to host or distribute badware. We currently recommend that users do not download software from or visit this website.

    Findings
    We find that the site Hack Zone (http://www.hackzone.us) contains badware. The site allows user to search their database for cracks and key generators. After testing a random sampling of this site's content, we have determined that the badware behavior of this website includes:

    * This site links to another site that silently installs exploits that take advantage of a security vulnerability in the DHTML Editing Component. This could allow an ActiveX Control to execute potentially malicious code remotely. (Deceptive installation)"

    I personally checked and found the above to be true.

    Your English could use some work too.

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  5. You should also be aware that Google's effort to stop malware has caused damage to many innocent small businesses that have themselves been victims of malware. Google stonewalls on this and hides behind StopBadware.org which can't competently handle an appeals process by which the warnings are removed.

    Because StopBadware.org is sponsored by the Berkman Center at Harvard, they somehow think that even though they've shut down your business, you should understand they've gotten backed up because of their holiday break.

    Google has become an evil-doer!

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  6. they say that it's better to have out of jail 100 guilty people than to imprison one innocent.

    our site, www.gma-nitsa.gr, has been flagged as a badware source. we have check and recheck it. we have also open a discussion in stopbadware.org group - http://groups.google.com/group/stopbadware/browse_thread/thread/097ace758f5607f3/13151903ffac1274#13151903ffac1274 . none can find any problems with our site.

    but, after 2 requests for rescan, google insists that we are a badware source.

    gma-nitsa.gr is a site dedicated to food recipes and techniques and is named after my grand mothers name, Nitsa. i have it online since 2001 and it is highly reputable with very warm friends.

    in the image http://www.gma-nitsa.gr/images/google-stopbadware/visits.png
    you can see the decrease in traffic since google marked our site as a badware source.

    if *anyone* can provide me with a contact information, someone in google who can explain the problem it will be a great help.

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    gEorgE sTaThis

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  7. I SUSPECT the following "Sponsored Link" at Google is actually a distributor of mal ware. It is a link that comes up when the search term is "iexplore.exe", a potential malware problem on my computer. Is there evidence of "Sponsored Links" distributing malware? My SUSPICION that it is malware is generated by mis-spellings, typographical errors, incomplete sentences, and poor punctuation in the text.

    The link:
    -------------------------
    Sponsored Link
    What is iexplore.exe?
    ProcessLibrary.com/iexplore.exe Learn more about iexplore.exe and fix related errors. 5 Star Awarded!

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  8. I think it is a fine thing to prevent malware, but I think it can REALLY harm a business when the warning is not removed promptly after the problem is corrected.

    VERY FRUSTRATING to have your site tarred for an extended period after you have corrected the problem.

    There needs to be a MUCH faster response for site reconsideration and review!

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  9. I definitely echo two other posters; the hosebags at Google royally screwed us, and very careful review of all our site content shows no malware - iframes, trojans, virus - anything at all. They were very fast to pull it down after we updated two pages, but slow to respond for reviews. Perhaps a call from an attorney can get them moving.

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  10. A call from an attorney? No antivirus is perfect and nobody sues Symantec when Norton gives false positives, even though you pay a subscription. You can't expect that Google owes you something and that everything it does it's perfect.

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  11. OK, so clearly this warning is malfunctioning now...because i get a warning on all google sites when i search for...google! hoisted with your own petard, no? or someone's hacked google completely...

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  12. Yeah kmac, same thing here. Google can't even search for itself without showing the warning. I guess Yahoo gets my vote for now.

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  13. i came to this blog looking for the same thing as kmac, yeah i reckon it was hacked, or google itself has some malware

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  14. Its weird every single search i do say that it got malware! Why is this can anyone help me??? Really appreciated if so.

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  15. I cannot get past the Google warning - effectively blocked fing brom searchy the bobbleheads at google. Dogpile here I come

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  16. how the f%$k do i get rid of it ?
    it a pain in the ass
    if i want to search the sites its up to me
    im gona use a different search programe untill this shit is sorted
    ask.com or yahoo or some other 1-
    google im boycotting you!

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  17. Same here, will have to rely on yahoo till it is fixed.

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  18. Every site on every search is flagged as harmful - BBC, CNN, government - you name it. Sounds like time for some overtime at Google.

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  19. That bloody thing blocks ALL websites searched up by google search!
    And - top of infameness - "you continue to follow this link: ...." - but that doesn't work. There is no more link to follow.
    How to switch that f'''ing thing off?!?!

    Last day I used Google as a search engine!

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  20. Even the White House and the Contact Google sites have the malware warning....is Google another way of spelling moron?

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  21. Please tell us how to get rid of it! Someone has to know!

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  22. Google totally screwed this one up. Every page has malware, and I can't even continue to the site if I wanted to.

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  23. I'm yahooing from from on... Bye google.

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  24. Looks like they either had a major meltdown or got hacked. Same issue in IE or Firefox or whatever.

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  25. Yep something is really screwed at google
    everything is badware now

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  26. Ohh, man I thought it was just me! WTF is up with Google? Malware warnings for everything! o.O

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  27. I'm having the same problems too (thought it was a virus affecting the search results), and only got to this page via searching via yahoo. I guess I'm going to yahoo for now. I hope someone from google reads this. They need to fix it, now!

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  28. wow! just shows you Google is not God!

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  29. i got the same problem when i opened up the computer this morning.

    searching on ways to fix this.

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  30. Same here in the UK - was OK at about 1300 GMT, almost every site marked as malware by 1500 GMT, even sites which were OK at 1300, including www.tesco.com

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  31. Seriously?? well im a bit relieved, I thought someone had developed a MAC malware, but am happy to hear its everyone, but seriously WTF?? Google has let us down.

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  32. Same here... Using Yahoo because Google is useless for searching now. Even Goolge pages are listed as Malware.

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  33. Goodbye google welcome back altavista!

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  34. I was afraid I had gotten a virus this morning because google is doing this to me. I tried yahoo and had no such errors. Google, what the heck is going on?

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  35. Hahaha! This is kinda funny... Every result has malware, even google and stopbadware...!

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  36. tried it on multiple computers with multiple browsers, no luck.

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  37. I cannot use google anymore. It will not let me even look at tv listings. This is worse than the viruses we have had. Will have to use Yahoo. I mean we cannot log on to anything with google. Have never had a problem. What it is up with this.

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  38. I am getting the thing for every search I do every page has the malware warning in any search I do

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  39. WTF??? How the hell have google managed to foul this one up??? Sitting here in the UK with every site throwing up this error..... I Wouldn't mind but most of the other search engines are crap.

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  40. Example of Goolge page listed as Malware

    Search made: google This site may harm your computer.


    Result:

    Results labeled 'This site may harm your computer' - Web Search HelpThis site may harm your computer.
    We want our users to feel safe when they search the web, and we're continuously working to identify dangerous sites and increase protection for our users.
    www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=45449 -

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  41. Same here. Can't search anything with Google today. But funny, on my laptop connected on my network it's normal. Glad I find this site to confirm it's not something with me only.

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  42. Great now yahoo seems to be screwed ... search results will not display
    3 PCs 2 different browsers 2 ISPs

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  43. Bad ideas usually backfire, looks like it's happened

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  44. Happening in the US too...at least the New England area. Plus, when you try to use the help pages on Google, they're erroring out.

    The only results NOT showing up as harmful is YouTube....maybe Google's trying to pad revenue!!!

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  45. Hoorah for MSN! lol

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  46. This thing SUCKS...i switch to yahoo... also THIS site is listed as malware...SUUUUUUUUCK

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  47. Google... get an idea, you clowns

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  48. google sucks balls

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  49. You people are idiots. Obviously there is some sort of Google server search engine issue. Whether it was a massive hack or a Google server software update that has caused the problem, they will get it fixed. Try using another search engine until the problem is resolved such as yahoo or livesearch. Do we rely too heavily on Google? Perhaps but you have to admit all the whining going on shows that their service to humankind is very valuable.

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  50. Looks like when you search for something and it comes up with the malware warnings, if you just hit enter to search for the same search term again, it comes up fine...really weird.

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  51. it's fixed! i love google.

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  52. Yay working again in the uk

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  53. Same here in Portugal! Google is back! Hooray!

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  54. It's back here in Brazil too. Waiting to see what Google will say about this.

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  55. I'm in Illinois, but in response to the post from New England, YouTube was blocked for me also.

    As everyone else has said, everything's back to normal now. It'll be interesting if Google actually tells us what happened.

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  56. If you are getting every site as a warning, here is a fix that I just tried:

    -on the Google Toolbar, click on the 'G' next to the search window...at the bottom of the pulldown screen click on 'Manage Search Engines...establish Yahoo! as your default engine, then click on 'Remove' for Google. Let me know if this worksd for you as well..

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  57. Its not fixed for me any site I go to has this warning, started using Yahoo but hate every thing about it.

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  58. Removing google? NO. Google is the best search engine. I doesnt matters if they take over the world in ten years as long as I get good search results ;-).
    The problem is solved. No website was blocked - just warned about malware.

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  59. Got the same thing on mine this morning. Ran all my protection stuff.

    1st. Registry Repair
    2nd. MS Defender
    3rd. Norton 360 Full Scan
    4th. AdAware(still running)

    This is my NORMAL response when I find something like this happening.
    After the Norton 360 scan(it dumped 3 cookies), I reran an identical search and the warning was gone. I don't know where it comes from. I did get a couple of potential e-mails from someone who really does NOT know much about computers and likes to look at things I really don't want him sending me....but.....(sigh)...I just run my protection programs and it has ALWAYS solved it. Thank God...Knock on Wood...Invoke the Protection Demons!!!!

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  60. You have to let go some pressure guys... What if Google didn't existed? It provides excellent free services and has proven to be innovative for as long as I can remember.

    Technical problems can occur ANY day to ANY company. Please note that in the past 3 to 4 years, this is the FIRST problem I ever had with Google.

    On the other hand, it pushed me to try Yahoo. And I can say, once more, that I prefer Google.

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  61. http://internetcommunications.tmcnet.com/topics/broadband-mobile/articles/49804-google-malware-warnings-every-result.htm

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  62. Haha, i'm glad I woke up early today. I got a bunch of screenshots for popular sites, i'm definitely posting them at work. "www.microsoft.com may be harmful to your computer" "www.goarmy.com may be harmful to your computer"... I got about 35 screenshots while the bug was still in operation. Even in error Google is useful. Laughs for at least a month!

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  63. dont know what happend but it was going on and now it seems to be fixed everything i googled came up malware well i think they got it as it isnt doing it any more cheers google hope u figure out what went wrong and keep it from doing it again.

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  64. The folks at The UNIX and Linux Forums posted some screenshots of the Google error:

    http://www.unix.com/security/99026-google-error-site-may-harm-your-computer.html

    Cheers.

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  65. I bet GOOGLE CHROME users did not experience this problem.........

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  66. Oh...the Chrome Crasher?? HA!! I am still having problems with Google. Every search I perform brings up URLS with nothing whatsoever to do with the searched subject.

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  67. Yeahh Google is back? What kind of damage has this done is the question...

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  68. Since the Fabruary 2009 my site is being blocked by the Google. My business thanks to the www.bachmat.vel.pl is over and I will surely sue Google for the fact I lost many cash to solve this and many cash, cause I didn't sell any puppies. And you know, the first site at google.pl has 2 pagerank, wikipedia has pr 4 and mine has 2, so what's the problem?

    I will demand 1,5 mln $ from Google to build my business from the beginning and many other, more health problems thanks to them.

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  69. While I am all for Google using security measures (who knows more about the state of websites) I am still unhappy with how they are implementing them. I was recently denied access to a site I know to be safe, by Google. Not warned of possible danger, just DENIED access. I don't think Google has any right to deny me of anything on the web. Boy, that really infuriated me..

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  70. last week I started noticing something strange at google everytime I search for anything; the page I click no longer goes to the actual page but to some other invasive page. Anybody knows what is going on at google?

    I removed all google everything from my computer and now I am at Dog Pile. What the heck, if google is going to serve crap, might as well go to the pile.

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  71. @Anon:

    Most likely, your computer is infected with malware, so you should install an antivirus and a software like MalwareBytes instead of blaming Google. Another good idea is to use Firefox or Chrome instead of Internet Explorer.

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  72. Out of no where I receive an email from google that our website is being phishing, we do not use any email programs difinately no spam, we do trade missions from Canada to China, whats going on with google and try to find a google website to report the false claim.

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  73. I have every site I host listed on google. I have been through every line of code and found nothing.

    Google's review and relist process blows.

    I also received the email about a site. my web traffic has dropped 90% in a week thanks to this.

    WTF Google! Fix this so us legitimate small businesses dont suffer.

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  74. That is why it is so important to have Google Webmaster installed on your sites so you can detect this issue when it happens

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