Google search alerts users to compromised sites

Google uses it’s Safe Browsing Service to warn users before clicking on links that appear on websites when they lead to malware-infested pages – it also prevents users from posting links to phishing pages on websites. Google has now gone one step further by adding a warning in search results when a website appears to be compromised. If a website is compromised it doesn’t mean it is actually downloading malware onto visiting PCs though.

The “This site may be compromised” (notice the use of the word ‘may’ – maybe has something to do with Google wanting to avoid being sued in case a website isn’t infected) service commenced on December 17th. Search queries will show ‘compromised’ websites as a hyperlink (URL) with the words “This site may be compromised” underneath a ‘compromised’ search result. By clicking on the warning, the link leads to a Google Help Center article with more information on the threat.

The new warning system will certainly alert website administrators and visitors as to whether a website has been compromised. Visitors will also be able to determine whether they want to leave any personal information on a website if it has been compromised i.e. with malware, or used for spamming or phishing.

As for Webmasters – you need not worry. If Google finds that your website has been incorrectly labeled as ‘compromised’, it will remove the warning label from search results, usually in a matter of days. Click here to request a review – this will speed up removal of the ‘compromised’ notice. I also suggest web surfers visit the Google Family Safety Center which provides futher useful information on how to use the Google search engine safely and report any abuse.

Safe surfing folks!

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