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February 13, 2007

Google Flags Pages that Install Malicious Software

I mentioned in August last year that Google started to show malware warnings if you click on a search result from a harmful site. Now Google shows a message below the title of a search result: "This site may harm your computer." Even if you click on the title, you won't be able to visit the site: Google explains you once again that the site could be dangerous and recommends you to visit another search results or to change your query. The only way to visit the site is to copy the URL and paste it in the address bar, which is not an obvious or a trivial task for an ordinary computer user.

Google explains: "this warning message appears with search results that we've identified as sites that may install malicious software on your computer. We want our users to feel safer when they search the web, and we're continuously working to identify such dangerous sites and increase protection for our users."

Unlike spam pages that try to deceive search engines and are penalized or removed from the index, these pages deserve their ranking, but users are strongly discouraged to visit them.

A study from McAfee SiteAdvisor conducted in December 2006 revealed that: "41.4% of [dangerous] sites exhibit poor e-mail practices, 24.5% contain risky downloads, 26.8% are scam sites, 32.3% link to other risky sites and 3.0% contain browser exploits." Also, 4.2% of Google's search results are dangerous sites.

22 comments:

  1. That's a great idea, however I would suggest that Google change the text color to something different than the main link (red for example), in order to increase the visibility of this feature.

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  2. it seems there are some bigger changes in listings Note second result there is + map

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  3. Interesting link for + Map above here is cache of the page: cache and nowhere on the page is text "3501 W Vine St, Kissimmee, AL 34741" like on the snipped except on the footer image footerpic.gif

    Does Google do OCR?

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  4. That's Google PlusBox. Matt Cutts explains it:

    "If someone searches for your business and we have good confidence that we know your business address, we'll include an expandable Plus Box in your search result listing."

    You can add the address of a business at Local Business Centre.

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  5. I have a website that sells flowers and noticed a week ago that there was a warning notice on it. To my knowledge there is nothing "dangerous" on the site and I am very willing to fix it if there is ..however I was not notified by google or Stopbadware that the notice was going to be put on. I have appealed twice to Stopbadware and 5 days later have had no response. Meanwhile I am losing business..no-one is going to visit a site that has a warning notice on it. What do I do? And who is liable for any loss of earnings resulting from this warning notice..Google or Stopbadware?

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  6. Send an email to appeals@stopbadware.org explaining why you think your site was mistakenly identified or how you have modified your site. They will investigate and contact you with their findings. If they determine that your site does not spread malicious software, they will inform Google, who will remove the identification from the search results.

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  7. thanks for the advice..I've appealed twice to stopbadware and had no response..or acknowledgement. Do you have any idea how long it takes? Mothers' day is coming soon and I stand to lose a lot of business.

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  8. I've heard it takes around 10-14 days. In the meantime, you should check your site and make sure you don't have scripts that try to install applications, exploits or something like that.

    StopBadware also has a forum, where their members answer questions.

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  9. Three week ago there was a warning notince on my website http://www.etatvasoft.com I visit stopbadware.org and read the guide line for removing badwares and malicious software, I do scan my server with stopbadware.org recommend software, then notified to Stopbadware after 1 week Warning message is gone. Thanks to Stopbadware.Org.

    Jim
    http://www.tatvasoft.com

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  10. So nice!!!
    Could you please provide us proxied access to the unsafe Internet?
    Thanks

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  11. there's a virus that adds some javascript code that loads up other sites from your files. If your server / web files are infected google might flag your site!

    search your files for "function nbsp" if you find some wierd code, that's been added by a virus.

    i'm trying to get this virus off my server / pc. The main virus scanning apps aren't very good at detecting this and your host will usually says it you fault not theirs.

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  12. 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 immage 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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  13. Yeah all well and good, but how do you unistall this crap? Or maybe get another search engine. Good bye Google we hardly knew ye!

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  14. its rubbish every search has it now, plc's, cnn etc, it doesn't matter who the site belongs to it is complete nonsense!

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  15. I did a search for scrambled egg recipes this morning and every site came back flagged. I'm sure this is a great feature but now how am I going to cook these eggs???

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  16. What is this warning? Anything I search for is now flagged as harmful. Why is this happening and what do we do?

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  17. Google shoule try working on not including those sites in their results .. not telling me every damn site is harmful. Goodbye Google !!

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  18. I have to think that right now, (Jan 31-09) there is a problem going on at Google. Each and every site is currently flagged. Even a new website that I just put up yesterday. Hopefully they already know, and are working on the problem. My guess is that it's a labeling problem at Google, not an actual identification of malware on every website possible. But in the meantime, there are lots of error messages.

    Oh - about those scrambled eggs. Crack eggs. Mix with a fork. Add some milk or water if you prefer. Salt and pepper. Put a little butter in the pan. Fry (scramble) until the liquid steams away. Delicious.

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  19. This is a totally outrageous move on Google's part. Do they want to kill world commerce! This is the first time I have ever seen this (Jan. 31, 09) and it seems to be on every website! This may go down as the bone-head idea of all time!

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  20. GOOD BYE GOOGLE, this is the beginning of the end of what was once a great search engine. I even liked its brand of various products.

    But after using Google Chrome & searching the term Google @ Google.com & you blocked it?

    GOOD BYE GOOGLE.
    1.\uninstall Chrome
    2.\change home page
    3.\never return to this crap again.

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  21. i think google's nuts. at www.brookbend.com a patio furniture store online for 8 yrs, never a problem, they are preventing any access in any way -- right now. how do you contact these idiots?

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  22. How can google justify directing traffic away from a website? Is this not hijacking?

    I have been through this stupidity myself recently even though I have banned google from crawling my site long ago. An automated message was sent, the red boxes went up, the warning messages were posted in the google searches - for a site google cannot crawl.

    Traffic is directed to badware.org.

    Here's what the report at the time said:

    What is the current listing status for heinrich.id.au?
    This site is not currently listed as suspicious.

    What happened when Google visited this site?
    Google has not visited this site within the past 90 days.

    Has this site acted as an intermediary resulting in further distribution of malware?
    Over the past 90 days, heinrich.id.au did not appear to function as an intermediary for the infection of any sites.

    Has this site hosted malware?
    No, this site has not hosted malicious software over the past 90 days.

    So HOW can google determine there is a problem and more alarmingly, effectively hijack my website.

    Is there some legal remedy for loss of business incurred by this unauthorised interference?

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