Google Beats Bing, Yandex & Blekko At Keeping Malware Out Of Search Results [Study]

computer-hacking-malware-feature About three years ago, Google was labeled in one study as the "King of Malware." Things have apparently changed a lot since then. A new study reports that Google is beating its primary search competitors pretty significantly when it comes to keeping malware out of search results. The 18-month study (PDF), done by a German IT security group called AV-TEST, reviewed more than 40 million web pages -- the vast majority (about 38 million) coming from Google, Bing, Yandex and Blekko. The results: About .0025 percent of Google's search results were links to malicious websites. Blekko was [...]

Google Launches Help Center For Hacked Sites

Google hacked sites help center Google has just launched a help center for hacked sites, complete with step-by-step instructions and videos that outline each part of the process. The videos feature Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead at Google (and her Googler colleagues), who told me "we wanted to connect our capability to detect and alert site owners of their hacked sites with improved resources to help them recover." For some time, Google's been letting site owners know when their sites have been hacked, but this new help center takes the next step and walks through how to fix the site and get the warnings remove [...]

Infected Search Results Jump 80% During Holiday Season

computer-hacking-malware-feature Chris Larsen from Blue Coat Security shared new statistics on the number of poisoned search results during the holiday shopping season. The new stats show an 80% jump in the number of clicks on infected search results from their last report in August. Specifically, they tracked 13,616 different clicks over 10 days, which is an average of 1361.6 different search engine poisoned clicks per day. During the August or Olympics research set, they had a total of 28,277 different search engine poisoned clicks in 39 days, which is about 725 per day. That is over an 80% increase in the number of [...]

Google: Want To Switch To HTTPS? Go Ahead!

google-https Google's Matt Cutts said on a Hacker News comment that those who are interested in switching their whole web site from http to https should go ahead and do that. I spotted this comment in response to Facebook going HTTPS by default, where someone mentioned that Google may have an issue indexing HTTPS content. Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, said no - they index it fine and you can "feel free to go HTTPS" at this time. This is interesting in that we know since Google switched to HTTPS on Google search by default, that the [not provided] statistic in analytics packages have caus [...]

Study: Malicious Search Results More Common In Bing & Image Search

bing-b-logo Almost two of every three malicious redirects in major search engines are found on Bing, according to a new report from the web security firm Sophos. Looking at data "from the last couple of weeks," Sophos found that 65 percent of malicious search results that its web appliance blocked were from Bing. Google was responsible for 30 percent of the blocked redirects. Image search is particularly vulnerable to this kind of attack. In a separate chart, Sophos says that 92 percent of the malicious redirects that it found were in image search results. Sophos is using its own technol [...]

Firefox 14 Now Encrypts Google Searches, But Search Terms Still Will “Leak” Out

firefox-secure-privacy-featured Firefox 14 has officially launched today, which means all Google searches are encrypted by default. However, due to a Google loophole, the encryption will not prevent things you search for from "leaking" out to Google's advertisers nor potentially showing up as search suggestions or in data reported to web sites through Google Webmaster Central. The Firefox team saidof the change: We automatically make your Google searches secure in Firefox to protect your data from potentially prying eyes, like network administrators when you use public or shared WiFi networks. This is true. The "secur [...]

Google: 12 To 14 Million Searches Per Day Returned Hacked Sites

computer-hacking-malware-feature Google's security blog announced today several updates on how they have been addressing malware and hacked sites on the internet. Google said that between 12 and 14 million search queries per day return warnings that at least one of the results listed in the Google search results were compromised. Google has two types of labels for sites that were hacked, either they are listed as compromised or as harmful. The difference is that compromised sites are hacked and the content and links may have changed but they are likely not harmful to the searcher to click on them. The harmful warning is an [...]

Google Sent 20,000+ Hacked Notification Messages To Webmasters Today

Google's head of the webspam team, Matt Cutts, announced on Twitter that they have sent out new message notifications to 20,000 web sites that are hacked. Specifically, Google sent these messages to sites doing "weird redirects." I've personally seen a spike in the number of sites redirecting from their web site to a non-authorized site recently. The webmaster is typically unaware of this redirect because the redirects only occur when someone clicks from Google's search results to the web site. Typically the site owner doesn't go to Google to find his web site; the site owner goes direct [...]

Firefox To Use Google Secure Search By Default; Expect More “Not Provided” Keywords To Follow

firefox-secure-privacy-featured The popular Firefox browser is on track to use a secure method of searching Google by default, a change that will help prevent potential "eavesdropping" of what people are searching for. It will also further reduce the ability for publishers to know how people find their sites in Google -- except for Google advertisers. A loophole in Google Secure Search continues to provide them with this data. "We are currently testing the change to use SSL for built-in Google searches in our Firefox nightly channel. If no issues are uncovered, it will move through our Aurora and Beta release channels befor [...]

Microsoft Security Patch Marked As Malware

computer-virus-malware-featured Some of those who use Microsoft security software received a security patch a couple days ago that lead to malware warnings for users trying to visit Softpedia posted a picture of the warning. Microsoft quickly learned about the issue on their support forums and issued a patch yesterday to address the issue. Microsoft didn't explain it was a Google specific issue but said: On February 14, 2012, an incorrect detection for Exploit:JS/Blacole.BW was introduced. On February 14, 2012, Microsoft released an update that addresses the issue. Signature versions 1.119.1988.0 and high [...]

Google Launches Online Safety Campaign With Citizens Advice Bureau

The Telegraph reports in "Google teams up with Citizens Advice Bureau" that Google is running its first non-Google-specific campaign in the U.K. to promote awareness for online safety. The campaign is named "Good To Know" and leads to, where users can learn more about online safety tips. Google teamed up with the Citizens Advice Bureau on this campaign, where the two organizations are using newspaper ads, ads on public transport and online ads to promote the initiative. One of the major pushes is to get people to use "two-factor authentication" to help protect the [...]

Timing Is Everything: How Google Staged A Benevolent “Smear” Campaign

Google operates one of the largest cloud-based computing systems in the world, and takes great pride in its reliability, investing significant amounts of both money and human resources to make sure that all of its services are always-on and accurate. Here's the story of how, to eliminate what many would consider an almost insignificant issue, Google conducted a "smear" campaign and created software that "lied" to its own servers—all to improve performance and eliminate potential errors that most of us wouldn't even notice. Inside Google's Time Warp As searchers, we want fresh resul [...]

Google Warns Of Malware Redirecting To Its Search Results

MalwareWarningScreenshot Do a search on Google, and you might get an unexpected surprise. A big notice at the top of your results warning that your computer has been infected with malware. Here's an example of how it looks: What malware? Produced by whom? Google's not giving any details there yet, simply blogging: This particular malware causes infected computers to send traffic to Google through a small number of intermediary servers called "proxies." We hope that by taking steps to notify users whose traffic is coming through these proxies, we can help them update their antivirus software and remove the i [...]

What Every Search Marketer Needs To Know About Web Security

All too often web site security is somebody else’s problem. It shouldn’t be. If you work on websites, you should know the basics of web security. The more popular a site becomes, the more value it accrues, the more likely it is to become a target. As you apply search marketing techniques to a site, you are inherently increasing the risks that it will be attacked. Therefore, it is your obligation to understand these risks and help manage them. Hacking Matt’s Cutts recently stated on the official Google blog that, for the fifth year in a row, they will be placing a lot of emphas [...]

Google Adds Site Hacked Notifications To Search Results

Matt Cutts of Google announced on the Google Webmaster Blog that they have added a new notification for hacked sites to the search results. Google had malware notifications in the search results since 2007, but now Google is adding a notification for searchers to be aware that the site they may click on is hacked. It is important to note that a hacked site might not have malware on it. Here is a picture of a hacked notification, which is a hyperlink that reads "This site may be compromised." The link will take you to this Google document explaining why the label is on that resu [...]

Google Website Optimizer & URL Security Issues

There are two different security issues around Google products over the past 12 hours or so. The first is with Google Website Optimizer where there was the potential of an Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attack. The second is with people using, Google's URL shortener, within Twitter to grab your Twitter passwords. While the second one, is not really a Google issue, the Google Website Optimizer XSS issue is. Google sent out an email to Google Website Optimizer users saying: Dear Website Optimiser user, We are writing to inform you of a potential security issue with Website [...]

Google Appoints Privacy Director & Adds New Privacy Measures

Google has announced they have increased their privacy controls within Google to better secure user privacy. Google has done this in response to them collecting data over wifi via their street view cars. Google has added three broad changes to help secure private data going forward: (1) They appointed a director of privacy, Alma Whitten to work on the engineering and product side. She will build controls to ensure privacy within Googles products and internal daily routines. (2) Google will train all of their employees on Google's privacy principles and add additional privacy train [...]

Study Calls Google ‘King Of Malware’

Google has twice as much malware in its search results as Yahoo, Bing, and Twitter combined. That's one of the findings in the Barracuda Labs 2010 Midyear Security Report, which will be presented tomorrow at the DEFCON 18 hacking conference tomorrow in Las Vegas. Barracuda Labs says it studied the four search engines for about two months and reviewed more than 25,000 trending topics and almost 5.5 million search results. The results aren't good for Google: Overall, Google takes the crown for malware distribution – turning up more than twice the amount of malware as Bing, Twitter and Ya [...]

Report: Some Google ‘Hot Topic’ Searches Return 90% Malicious Links

A blog post from cloud security company Zscaler suggests that some Google searches recently returned results with 90% malicious links, and the spammers are using Google Trends to do it. The example used in the post is a search for [tri energy], a phrase that was the hottest search on Google Trends on Friday, April 2nd. On its first check, Zscaler says 90 of the top 100 results were malicious -- 86 of which sent users to a phony anti-virus page that tries to install malware. For its part, Google is well aware of the problem. "Utilizing popular search terms and events to lure users into v [...]

Disabling The Google Toolbar Doesn’t Stop Google From Tracking You

Ben Edelman uncovered evidence that even if you disable the Google Toolbar, Google may still be tracking your web browsing behavior. Edelman documents how he disabled the Google Toolbar within the preference, then visited a web page and captured how Google was sending browsing data from the toolbar to Google's servers. Edelman first clicked the "X" icon at the top left of the Google Toolbar. Then he selected "Disable Google Toolbar only for this window," and clicked "okay." While in the same window, requested the site. He noticed that his network monitor showing that th [...]

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