Home / News

Google Flags Entire Web Unsafe, Glitch Due to Human Error According to Company

A glitch in Google's security update on Saturday morning caused links to every search result — including Google's own pages — to get flagged with the warning: "This site may harm your computer." The errors caused panic among users around the world who at first feared the popular search engine had suffered a major security failure. The problem which lasted for approximately 40 minutes has now been acknowledged and fixed by Google. The reason for the hiccup, as explained by Google, was due to a human error in the list of URLs Google uses to identify and flag websites known to install malicious software.

Here is Google's explanation posted this morning on its official blog:

"What happened? Very simply, human error. 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 work with a non-profit called StopBadware.org to get our list of URLs. StopBadware carefully researches each consumer complaint to decide fairly whether that URL belongs on the list. Since each case needs to be individually researched, this list is maintained by humans, not algorithms.

We periodically receive updates to that list and received one such update to release on 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."

Update from Google: The post has been revised and StopBadware's explanation added. Feb.2.2009

Updates:  UPDATED Feb 03, 2009 7:35 AM PDT
The day Google broke the Internet... Sam Johnston, Jan.31.2009
Google Glitches -- But World Doesn't End! Lauren Weinstein, Jan.31.2009
This morning's spam filter issue Google Blog, Jan.31.2009
What is StopBadware.org, anyway? StopBadware Blog, Feb.3.2009

Related topics: Security, Web

WEEKLY WRAP — Get CircleID's Weekly Summary Report by Email:

Comments

To post comments, please login or create an account.

Related Blogs

Related News

Topics

Industry Updates – Sponsored Posts

Announcing Verisign IntelGraph: Unprecedented Context for Cybersecurity Intelligence

Introducing the Verisign DNS Firewall

TLD Security, Spec 11 and Business Implications

Verisign Named to the Online Trust Alliance's 2015 Honor Roll

3 Key Steps for SMBs to Protect Their Website and Critical Internet Services

Key Considerations for Selecting a Managed DNS Provider

Verisign Mitigates More DDoS Attacks in Q1 2015 than Any Quarter in 2014

Verisign OpenHybrid for Corero and Amazon Web Services Now Available

Afilias Supports the CrypTech Project - Ambitious Hardware Encryption Effort to Protect User Privacy

Public Sector Experiences Largest Increase in DDoS Attacks (Verisign's Q4 2014 DDoS Trends)

Help Ensure the Availability and Security of Your Enterprise DNS with Verisign Recursive DNS

Verisign iDefense 2015 Cyber-Threats and Trends

Verisign Launches New Monthly Blog Series: Top 10 Keywords Registered in .COM and .NET

Standards and Browser Compatibility

What's in Your Attack Surface?

Q3 2014 DDoS Trends: Attacks Exceeding 10 Gbps on the Rise

.nyc Goes Public to Brand the Big Apple

3 Questions to Ask Your DNS Host About DDoS

Afilias Partners With Internet Society to Sponsor Deploy360 ION Conference Series Through 2016

Neustar to Build Multiple Tbps DDoS Mitigation Platform

Sponsored Topics