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
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.
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).
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
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.