Google’s China Gambit: Day Two Reaction

Google's decision to potentially pull out of China if it cannot operate without censorship is a remarkable story. The statement was made after Google discovered a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack" on GMail. Google didn't say the Chinese government was behind the attacks but that's the clear implication. The attacks involved more than just Google apparently. Adobe has publicly confirmed it was similarly attacked. Google's public statements and decision are being applauded, dissected and heavily tweeted within and outside China. Discussion of the decision dominates Techmeme, and is a [...]

Google Just Says No To China: Ending Censorship, Due To Gmail Attack

Google has revealed that the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists were targeted last December in a hacking attempt. That, along with other issues, has convinced the company that it will no longer censor results China as the Chinese government wishes. In particular, Google has willingly allowed self-censored its search results since January 27, 2006, on its Google China service. The screenshot above show an example of this, where a search for tiananmen on Google China (on the left) doesn't bring up protest pictures as you get when searching for the same thing on Google's main [...]

Guess What? Google Doodles Drive Tons Of Queries & Spammers Know It

CNet News reports that spammers and scammers are exploiting Google Doodles. As you can imagine, there are many people who click on the Google Doodle from the Google home page. Clicking on the logo will trigger a search result in Google. If you look at Google Hot Trends for yesterday, you will see that the number 8 query on that list was ll zamenhof. It was pretty popular, and spammers and scammers of course took notice. CNet reported that "Dave Michmerhuizen, a research scientist at Barracuda Networks, found 31 poisoned sites among the first 100 results, 27 of them in the first 50 sites [...]

How To Avoid Getting Your Search Rankings Trashed By Malware

As if SEOs don’t have enough things to worry about already, add malware to the list. Why does malware matter to SEOs? If the site you are working on gets infected, its search traffic will plummet. Search engines attempt to remove infected pages from their search results, or they label them with an ominous warning, such as This site may damage your computer. Back in 2008 Google reported that malware infected pages had increased to more than 1% of all search results. Google posted a malware statistics update last week. Malware infections have more than doubled since April 2009. Search res [...]

Google’s Working On New File System

We often don't think about the core file system and servers that power Google's properties, from Search and Gmail to YouTube and Wave, but Google does. The Register reports that after ten years with the original Google File System, GFS for short, Google is working on a version two to replace it. The Google File System is different from the underlining Caffeine infrastructure update, as I understand it, Caffeine runs on top of the Google File System, like you run Microsoft Word on Windows. The original GFS wasn't built to handle applications such as Gmail or YouTube, but that is exactly wh [...]

The Bogus Google Give-Away

Here's a new one on me. I just got an email telling me that I've won nearly $1 million from a "drawing" randomly selected from those searching on Google. Suffice to say, it's a scam. I can assure you that Google's done no drawing like this. Add the spam to those about missing fortunes in Nigeria or government grants. I did some looking around, and the Google scam seems relatively recent. Apparently there was a Google "anniversary" scam in April 2008. For this latest "give-away" one, I spotted talk of it from April of this year. But since this particular spam made it past the filters in Gmai [...]

Russian Roulette: McAfee Details Web’s Riskiest Search Terms

Somewhere online right now there's a music fan who's big on free downloads, likes Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" but doesn't know the lyrics, is looking for free ringtones, uses MySpace, likes to play solitaire and wants the latest game cheats. Like many of us, s/he uses a search engine to find all of these things. This person may as well be playing Russian roulette. In a recent report (PDF), online security company McAfee says those are some of the most dangerous search terms on the web. That's just a sample of the report's list of the 50 riskiest search terms in the U.S. "Maximum R [...]

Hackers Take Control Of Google Morocco For Several Hours

TechCrunch reported that Google Morocco was taken over by hackers for several hours. The reports say that the hackers gained access to Google's domain name through the country's registrar, The DNS information was then changed to point to a different server until Google regained access and pointed the domain name back to the Google servers. Google has been hacked before, including domain names taken over and blogs hacked into and seized. Postscript: Google said this was not a "hack" of the Google web site. Right, Google technically was not hacked into, but their domain name [...]

Google Suggests Ways To Prevent Hacking

If you run a popular/successful blog, there's a pretty good chance you're plenty familiar with hacking and how to deal with it. But hacking comes in many forms and can hit any kind of web site that isn't secure. In a post today, Google's Webmaster Central blog talks about ways to prevent hacking, including using Google search to find out if you've been hacked. The site: command can help identify if a hacker has added common spam content to your site when you do a search like viagra Most webmasters are probably familiar with and use the site: command often. B [...]

Google’s Blogger Makes Up 2% Of All Malware Hosts cited as the No. 1 host for malware from reports Google's Blogger accounts "for nearly 2 percent of all malware hosts." Sophos, an antivirus vendor, published a report showing the state of malware injections and attacks throughout the web. Specifically, hackers can set up "malicious blogs" on the Blogger service, plus they can inject dangerous web links and content into Blogger blogs. The Google web search team takes malware attacks seriously. They have reviews in webmaster tools and they label malicious web sites in web search results. So isn't it ironic that Googl [...]

Google’s Safe Browsing Diagnostic Tool

A week ago Google announced the release of a safe browsing diagnostic tool. To use the tool, just append a URL to the end of For example, to test this site, you would enter Google will then return four sets of security information about that page. (1) The current listing status of a site and also information on how often a site or parts of it were listed in the past. (2) The last time Google analyzed the page, when it was last malicious, what kind of [...]

Oops! Google’s SSL Certificate Throwing Out Scary Warnings

Everyone is noticing that when they go to their Google Account through AdWords, AdSense, Analytics, or any Google page that requires SSL, they are being prompted with a security warning. Typically, its not a major deal, right? Well, not if you are trying to get customers to buy on your site. As Tim Gross explains, if you are using Google Checkout on your site, this is having a major impact. Not only that, if you are using the conversion tracking scripts for AdWords and your potential buyer clicked on your ad, they may be prompted with a security warning and leave your site. There goes you [...]

Google Study: 1.3% Google Searches Return At Least One Malicious Result

Web Browsing, Search, And Online Ads Grow More Risky, Google Says from InformationWeek reports on a recent Google Study named All Your iFRAMEs Point to Us that shows 1.3% of Google searches returned at least one malicious result. Niels Provos, a security engineer at Google, lead the study that took 10 months of data containing billions of URLs. The data collection period was between January 2007 and October 2007. They checked 66,534,330 URLs and found that 3,385,889 URLs were "suspicious" and 3,417,590 URLs were malicious, pointing to 181,699 landing sites. But the real impact to the end [...]

Google Presentations Security Issue Leaked Email Addresses

Nathan Weinberg reports that Google fixed a security issue with the new Google Presentations, which leaked user email addresses to the public. What happened was that when webmasters tried to embed presentations into their web pages, it would then log people into Google Talk via their Google Account. After they logged in, to view the presentation and to chat, it would display the user's email address to all those who wanted to see it. Nathan reports Google has fixed the security issue about 15 hours after Google Presentations went live. [...]

Google Deletes Custom Search Blog After Marking It As Spam

Google Custom Search Blog Hacked? from Google Blogoscoped quickly reported what appeared to be a hack of Google's official Custom Search Blog. But what really happened was that Google marked their own blog as a spam blog and ultimately removed the blog from Blogger, allowing someone else to claim the URL. Google sent Google Blogoscoped a response detailing the issue: Whoops! We accidentally classified ourselves as spam, and our ever-perceptive Blogger settings caught us. The Custom Search Blog has since been restored, and we’re taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen with other Goo [...]

What Triggers Google CAPTCHA Requests When Searching

Ever done a search at Google and get a message saying you need to type some characters to keep searching? Those characters are called a CAPTCHA, a method designed to help someone prove they aren't an automated program hitting Google. Sometimes Google can mistake a human for programs like these, and the Google Security blog sheds more light today on how this can happen. Google explains that a CAPTCHA can be triggered by automated processes sometimes caused by worms, proxy search traffic going through infected computers or DSL routers, or from some SEO ranking tools. It also says that it has [...]

Google Buys Security Company Postini For $625 Million

Google announced (and here) the acquisition of Postini, a software security for electronic communications company for $625 million. Google said that this company would become a division of Google Apps. They will help secure Google Apps including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Talk, Calendar and Google's other applications. "With this transaction, we're reinforcing our commitment to delivering compelling hosted applications to businesses of all sizes. With the addition of Postini, our apps are not just simple and appealing to users -- they can also streamline the complex information security man [...]

Google Security: Google Mac Blog Hacked & Google Calendar Users Not Being Safe

The Google Mac Blog was hacked this weekend, at least the second time an official Google blog has been hacked. It was restored fairly quickly. In somewhat related news, Chris Pirillo noticed Google Calendar users storing their private passwords in their public calendars. I noticed that the Google Mac Blog was hacked when I saw a post in my RSS feed that read; Yo! Yo! This is crazy.. I tried to register this and I could! :) - Vishal Philipp Lenssen has a screen capture of the hack. Back in October, the main Google blog was hacked just after Google had posted a notice discussing how serio [...]

Google Desktop Hole Exposed, Fixed

BusinessWeek reports that Google Desktop had a major defect that could have potentially enabled hackers to view personal files on a computer with Google Desktop installed. The hole was plugged February 1st, a few weeks after it was discovered by Watchfire Corp. Google says it has no evidence the vulnerability was exploited. Google Desktop was vulnerable to what security experts call a "cross-site scripting attack." This vulnerability would potentially enable hackers to place malicious code on your personal computer. The hacker could then search all the files on the personal computer and p [...]

Google Search Results Now May Display Malware Warnings

Google Operating Systems reports that Google has changed the way they handle warning searchers of sites that may contain malware on them. It notes that a search on beautiful free screensaver currently brings up a result from that has a message from Google reading: "This site may harm your computer." That message links directly to a Google help document explaining the message in more detail. Here is a screen capture if you do not see it: Chris Sherman wrote Matt Cutts On Appealing Google Malware Warnings which discusses how Google handled potential malware sites in [...]

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