Google Search Marks ALL Sites with Malware Warnings

By Posted 2009 Updated   GoogleSecurity

If you use Google search for any search term right now, it is marking them all as “This site may harm your computer“. Basically clicking on any of these search results will lead users to a malware warning page and you cannot access the site from Google search results anymore making all links practically useless to visitors.

I observed this when trying to start the Yahoo! front page

yahoo malware

Then I realized this issue was affecting all websites on the web and Google Search had even marked all its own Google properties in search results as Malware. This was making all links going out from Google Search not reachable without warning.

google malware warning

The problem is whenever you try to visit any site marked with this warning, you are taken to a Malware warning page, which either advises you to visit the Google’s Safe Browsing diagnostic page for this site, or if you are the owner of this web site, to request a review of your site using Google’s Webmaster Tools. This is an StopBadware.org initiative to protect unsuspecting web surfers from dangerous websites and harmful malware software downloads online (incidentally StopBadware is not loading up right now).

malware warning

Something has gone wrong on the Google Search marking algorithm, as it is marking all sites as harmful and warning users that they are prone to infect their computers with viruses, trojans and worms via infected malware downloads from such web sites. But this is basically making Google search useless until the issue is fixed. Are you also noticing the same phenomenon in Google Search?

Update: More users are noticing the same issue via Twitter

google-warn1

google warn2

google warn3

Update: Google seems to have fixed the issue now. But it would be interesting if Google let us know why it happened and what steps they have taken to ensure that it does not happen again. The huge drop in outgoing google search result statistics would also be interesting at look at.

Update: Google has issued the official reason why it occured.

StopBadware carefully researches each consumer complaint to decide fairly whether that URL belongs on the list. Since each case needs to be individually researched, this list is maintained by humans, not algorithms. We periodically receive updates to that list and received one such update to release on the site this morning.

Unfortunately (and here’s the human error), the URL of ‘/’ was mistakenly checked in as a value to the file and ‘/’ expands to all URLs. Fortunately, our on-call site reliability team found the problem quickly and reverted the file. Since we push these updates in a staggered and rolling fashion, the errors began appearing between 6:27 a.m. and 6:40 a.m. and began disappearing between 7:10 and 7:25 a.m., so the duration of the problem for any particular user was approximately 40 minutes.


13 comments on “Google Search Marks ALL Sites with Malware Warnings

  1. gritts says:

    That was interesting this morning… I too thought I had picked up an critter.

  2. GoingLikeSixty says:

    Sounds a lot like the “Antivirus 2009” trojan. Yikes!

  3. Alisha says:

    I would also like to hear from Google about what had happened, who screwed up, why, etc. ;)

  4. QuickOnlineTips says:

    stopbadware.org is now back online. I guess something might have gone wrong there.

  5. Brendon says:

    @QuickOnlineTips, I suspect that because all Google queries showed the StopBadware.org warning, in effect Google had performed a DOS attack on StopBadware.org — pretty much every site (except Google, Yahoo, etc) would fall in situations like this.

    Brendon.

  6. Jean Luz says:

    Restart your router and solve the problem!

  7. Michelle says:

    By late this morning they had it fixed. I wondered if it had to do with yesterday’s critical windows update that I downloaded. Maybe Microsoft caused the error.

  8. JAB_au says:

    Human error on Google’s part, PEBCAK error.

  9. Rick says:

    Interesting, I have never really run across this problem…knock on wood!

  10. Reiko says:

    Unfortunatley there must be an error OR my site’sbeen hacked… so i’m on the run to figure this out o_O;;

  11. Malware says:

    Google definitely implemented extra precautions to make sure this would never happen again. Something like this will make people permanently switch to Yahoo’s browser.

  12. Colin Hall says:

    It’s refreshing that even Google can suffer from human error in these times of corporate technology. I was looking at the BBC weather pages once and there was a sandstorm set to hit my hometown at 4pm ! I wrote to the BBC with a screenshot and they admitted that there had been human error … I wonder how many people started to make plans to bunker in ?

  13. Google says:

    Google’s diagnostic page:

    http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=google.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *




css.php