Google To Warn Users Of Sites Repeatedly Infected With Malware

A year ago, Google updated its “Safe Browsing” technology to provide a warning to internet users who are about to visit a site full of software meant to infect devices and potentially steal consumers’ personal information. While the warnings are removed once sites clean up their act, some merely do so for a short time. Now, Google is taking steps to ensure visitors of those pages know it’s a repeat offender. 

Google on Tuesday announced an update its Safe Browsing system to include a warning aimed at protecting users from repeatedly dangerous sites.

Under Google’s long-standing “Malware, Unwanted Software, Phishing, and Social Engineering Policies,” sites found to contain malware are branded with warnings until the tech company can verify that the site is no longer harmful to visitors. This can be accomplished when a site petitions Google to review its contents.


While this system has protected some users’ devices from being attacked, Google says it has observed that “a small number of websites will cease harming users for long enough to have the warnings removed, and will then revert to harmful activity.”

This, Google says, creates a “gap in user protection.” To remedy this issue, the company will begin to classify sites that purposefully fluctuate between being compliant and in violation of the tech company’s policies in order to have warnings removed as “repeat offenders.”

With the new system, once the Safe Browsing team has determined that a site is a “repeat offender,” the page will be branded with the warning notice for 30 days before Google will review it again.

Sites that have been compromised as the result of a hack will not be considered repeat offenders.

“We continuously update our policies and practices to address evolving threats,” the company said in a blog post. “This is yet another change to help protect users from harm online.”

[via ZDNet]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.