Google thinks all sites are potential malware sites?

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UPDATE: Google response has been added.

Google seems to have a problem – a very, very big problem. For some unknown reason, type in anything into Google and you would be greeted with a list of sites. However, they all have been marked with “This site may harm your computer”.

For whatever reason, TECHGEEK.com.au is not a security risk, nor has it ever been, and this can be verified with the help of AVG’s SafeSearch icon that appears on the search page. But if you think we are alone – think again. Below are some of other popular sites with it.

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Google has responded to the questions on why did it listed every single site, including its own, as a potential malware site – when many have not been infected:

Google flags search results with the message "This site may harm your computer" if the site is known to install malicious software in the background or otherwise surreptitiously. We do this to protect our users against visiting sites that could harm their computers. We maintain a list of such sites through both manual and automated methods. We work with a non-profit called StopBadware.org to come up with criteria for maintaining this list, and to provide simple processes for webmasters to remove their site from the list.

We periodically update that list and released one such update to 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.

“We will carefully investigate this incident and put more robust file checks in place to prevent it from happening again,” it also said, and has apologised for the incident.

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