Google has increased it’s warning system for suspicious, compromised or hacked websites.
If you use Google for online search, you may start seeing warnings like:
This site may be compromised.
According to Google’s Support page:
“To protect the safety of our users, we show this warning message for search results that we believe may have been hacked or otherwise compromised. If a site has been hacked, it typically means that a third party has taken control of the site without the owner’s permission. Hackers may change the content of a page, add new links on a page, or add new pages to the site. The intent can include phishing (tricking users into sharing personal and credit card information) or spamming (violating search engine quality guidelines to rank pages more highly than they should rank). ”
This means that when the Google bot was indexing your website, it didn’t see any malscripts that could harm your computer, but they did see something that indicates to them, that the website has been tampered with. Maybe the hackers are trying to poison Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), or the site has some files added to it that allow hackers to use it for phishing schemes (fake bank sites, etc).
For website owners, it means that Google is once again trying to protect their users – the website visitors. While this may seem out of their realm of responsibilities, think of this way. If Google didn’t protect their users, website visitors, then people may not be so quick to use Google as their default search engine.
We see many times in the various forums we frequent, where a website owner has had one of their websites flagged by Google and the website owner is complaining about where Google’s responsibilities end. However, if Google didn’t champion this cause, then who would?
They are taking various precautions – they send out emails to various webmaster accounts notifying the warning label placed on the suspicious website. Some say they should do more before blocking a website.
That decision remains with Google.
Also, keep in mind that Google could just drop the listed website from the search engine listings altogether. But no, they decided to reach out to the website owner in ways they know, and try to alert the website owner to potential problems.
Is it flawless?
Probably not. But in the time we’ve been cleaning websites, 4 years, we’ve seen only a handful of cases where Google was wrong. According to some statistics, there are approximately 40,000 websites infected every week. If Google has been wrong only a few times, we think that a pretty good batting average.
What’s your opinion about this?
Leave a comment.
If your website has been infected, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you cleaned up and back in Google’s good graces (SERPs) as quickly as possible.