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February 20, 2007

Malware Warnings in Image Search

Google started to show warnings for search results that install malicious software. The same warnings can be seen in image search (one example is an "innocent" query like, that shows all the images indexed from If you click on a thumbnail from the search results, you'll be sent to an interstitial that recommends to try another search result.

In the new interface of image search, the domain name is less visible, as you have to hover over the thumbnail to see it. So these malware warnings could help you avoid sites that might damage you computer.


  1. Hi Ionut,

    The malware warning did not work for me, and my computer was attacked. It was caught by the anti-virus and quarantined, however you might want to warn your readers about this. I am using the "CustomizeGoogle" Firefox extension, which is pretty popular, and I had the following option selected: "Re-write links to point straight to the images". This might be a reason while the malware warning didn't work for me... Or maybe Google hasn't rolled out this feature on all servers yet.

  2. Firefox? Theres your problem. FF = Evil

  3. Oh yeah, FireFox is soooo evil. I bet you use Flock. Or wait, what is that other shit browser? Opera? Man, the establishment is so horrible. Cheers to you, anonymous, and next time you're in town I'll treat you to a generic brand cola-drink.

  4. Please Google, don't become the next Microsoft. If i want help, i'll ask for it. If i want to go to, that'll be for a reason and i don't want you to stop me or even warn me.
    If i don't have a drivers license, i shouldn't drive a car. If i don't know what to do and what not to do with a computer, i shouldn't use a computer.

    "You want to continue to use Google as search engine! Allow / Deny"

  5. It didn't in work in Firefox but worked in IE, Avant Browser. Please let us know how to do the same in Firefox. Thanks for the article.

  6. It works for me in any browser. Here's the interstitial page (the one you see in the screenshot).

    Also, if you find a better query (without the site: operator) that triggers the warnings, please let me know.

  7. cgull posted a comment here, but I had to delete it, because he included a huge URL that broke the whole layout. When you post a link, either use the <a&br; tag or make a short link with TinyUrl.

    The original comment of cgull (minus the links):

    "This new link shows, but the link in the main article just gives standard result, I changed the protection to the highest level in Google. It still shows error."

    My response:
    You should see that warning AFTER you click on a search result marked as unsafe by Google. This is not related to the Safe Search.

  8. Thanks Alex, I will try the same and also let my friends know. Great suggestion and nice one from Google. Thanks a lot. Cheers :)

  9. How about presenting this waring only for IE ?
    Other web browsers aren't vulnerable to this kind of exploits, except for what I see in the 1st reply :S

  10. "If i don't have a drivers license, i shouldn't drive a car. If i don't know what to do and what not to do with a computer, i shouldn't use a computer."

    But you use a tyre pressure guage so you don't underinflate your tyres; you use a speedometer so you don't get caught speeding; the dashboard is full of warning lights to alert you if your engine is overheating, or has some other fault... There are lots of automotive technological devices to keep you safe and your car functional, why shouldn't a search engine also have some?

  11. I personally think it's a great idea...

  12. While I am all in favor of increased web security, and I do trust Google, I have a problem with this and their other interstitial efforts: THEY BREAK WEBSITES! It is fine to give me a warning, but once I ignore it needs to go away for the entire domain. I recently had one of these errors reoccur for every subpage of a domain and I could not use the site's functionality because of it. That is not helpful, it is unacceptable.