Google has added a new warning to steer users from compromised sites in search results.
Google has added extra notification to search results to alert users when
they are in danger of traveling to a compromised site.
When Google believes a site has been hacked, a sentence will appear under
the search result stating, "This site may be compromised." Google
provides a similar warning to steer users away from sites found to be infected
The warnings in part address the challenge caused by black hat search engine
optimization (SEO). Attackers
often use SEO
techniques as a means to get victims to come to their sites.
Using tactics such as keyword stuffing and link farming, attackers can abuse
search engines to boost the search rankings of malicious pages.
"We've provided notices for malware for years, which also involve a
separate warning page," blogged
, associate product manager at Google. "Now we're expanding
the search results notifications to help people avoid sites that may have been
compromised and altered by a third party, typically for spam. When a user
visits a site, we want her to be confident the information on that site comes
from the original publisher."
By clicking the alert, the users can get more information about the notice,
Wald wrote. Users can also click the result itself and be taken to the site if
"We use a variety of automated tools to detect common signs of a hacked
site as quickly as possible," Wald blogged. "When we detect something
suspicious, we'll add the notification to our search results. We'll also do our
best to contact the site's webmaster via their Webmaster Tools account and any
contact email addresses we can find on the webpage. We hope webmasters will
also appreciate these notices, because it will help you more quickly discover
when someone may be abusing your site so you can correct the problem."
Google did not say specifically what sets off the alert in time for
publication; however, Wald noted that Webmasters that want to have it removed
can request a review.
"Of course, we also understand that webmasters may be concerned that
these notices are impacting their traffic from search," Wald added. "Rest
assured, once the problem has been fixed, the warning label will be
automatically removed from our search results, usually in a matter of days."