I think that everyone has encountered, at least once in their Net surfing history, the following alerts next to a search result: “This site may harm your computer.”
It’s not that big of a deal when you’re just surfing, but what if you’re the owner of the site in question? What if your business depends on it?
Since October has been selected as the Cyber Security Awareness Month, Google has decided to dedicate their efforts to educate the public, starting with the malware warning review process.
Google has a vested interest in keeping their search results “clean”. They scan continuously their web index. When they find pages that pose a threat to visitors – Google flags them and the webmasters of these sites are notified immediately, so they can start cleaning up their sites.
The process of cleaning should involve the removal of harmful content and the fixing of vulnerabilities through which the site has been compromised. Once the site is cleaned, the webmaster should file a Malware Review through Google’s Webmaster Tools.
Upon receiving the report, Google’s automated algorithms test the website thoroughly. If everything checks out clean, the warnings are removed from the search results. The process can last from a few hours to a whole day. Google also makes it their business to rescan the sites that have been compromised on a regular basis.