Friday 22 July 2011

Google Warns Users Of Malware Infections

After discovering unusual patterns of activity, Google is now using notices on its search engine results pages (SERPs) to warn users that their computers are infected with malware.

In a recent post on Google's Online Security Blog, Damian Menscher, a Google Security Engineer said: "Recently, we found some unusual search traffic while performing routine maintenance on one of our data centers. After collaborating with security engineers at several companies that were sending this modified traffic, we determined that the computers exhibiting this behaviour were infected with a particular strain of malicious software, or malware. As a result of this discovery, today some people will see a prominent notification at the top of their Google web search results."

Google Malware Warning

Menscher stated that malware was causing infected computers to send traffic to Google through a small number of intermediary servers called "proxies". Anyone using an infected machine would receive prominent notification at the top of their Google web search results page, warning them of the fact. "We hope that by taking steps to notify users whose traffic is coming through these proxies, we can help them update their anti-virus software and remove the infections."

Although Google aren't aware of a common name for the malware, they have indicated that the malware appears to have gotten onto users' computers from one of roughly a hundred variants of fake antivirus, or "fake AV" software that has been in circulation for a while. They believe that there are approximately 2 million machines effected by this malware which is quite a serious issue, if these numbers are correct. However, since the prominent notification has been in effect, Google have indicated that they have already warned hundreds of thousands of users that their computer is infected.

Google hopes that the knowledge they have gathered will help assist as many people as possible. In case their notice doesn't reach everyone directly and if you're concerned that your computer maybe infected, they have advised that you run a system scan on your computer yourself by following the steps in their Help Center article.

Note: If for some reason you haven't got Antivirus/Antispyware software installed on your computer, may I suggest using either PC Tools or AVG. Both of these packages offer a wide range of powerful tools to protect your computer against online threats.

Have you been affected by malware? What's your thoughts on this new notification? Please let me know.

Related articles:
Google's New Malware Warning
Does Google Consider Your Site Safe?
Google Adds New Security Layer To SERPs

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Until my next post, have a fabulous weekend!


  1. Thanks for the heads-up, Derek. I haven't been affected yet, but if I am, at least I'll know what happened!

  2. I do have antivirus software on my computer but have not been able to log in to my WordPress blog today. Don't know if the 'malware' has anything to do with it.

  3. Hi Kerrie,

    This will have nothing to do with malware. The probable cause is WordPress is having some issues with their system. I would suggest you check their status page to see if they are indeed having problems.

    Hope this helps Kerrie.


  4. Thank you, Derek. I emailed Hostgator support and they confirmed a WP database problem & fixed it straightaway. Was happy that I'd backed up the database and files in case they were needed.


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