Feeds

Google beefs up search result malware warning

'This site may be compromised'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Google has expanded a program designed to prevent search engine users from visiting websites that could scam them or install malware on their computers.

The feature includes the words “This site may be compromised” to search results that contain sites that Google's automated tools indicate may be under the influence of third-party spammers, phishers or other scammers. Hackers often exploit vulnerabilities on legitimate sites so they can be used as a low-cost and stealthy platform for carrying out phishing attacks and spamming operations.

“When we detect something suspicious, we'll add the notification to our search results,” Gideon Wald, Google's associate product manager, blogged on Friday. “We'll also do our best to contact the site's webmaster via their Webmaster Tools account and any contact email addresses we can find on the webpage.”

In the past, webmasters have complained that it takes far too long for Google to remove warnings after sites are cleaned up. Wald said webmasters can contact Google and request expedited reviews once compromised websites have been disinfected.

The new warnings augment an existing program that includes the words “This site may harm your computer” when queries turn up sites believed to infect users with malware. In those cases, users who want to visit the site anyway are forced to copy the URL and manually paste it into their browser's address bar. Under the program unveiled on Friday, users who don't want to heed the warning may simply click on the link provided in the results page.

The new warnings are intended to expand the number of websites that get flagged. It comes as Dark Reading reported that Google, web host GoDaddy, Microsoft and other companies have formed a consortium to take down unlicensed pharmacy websites that peddle Viagra and other prescription drugs. Such rogue pharmacies, which rake in billions of dollars selling fake medicine, have proved extremely resilient against past takedown attempts. ®

This article was updated to correct information about the malware warnings. They are still in place.

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.