Google Adds to Search Engine Security

Google's Safe Browsing Diagnostic Page to give Web masters more information on sites listed as malicious.

Google expanded its efforts to secure users of its search engine following a McAfee-Yahoo partnership to do the same for Yahoo users.

Google quietly launched the Safe Browsing Diagnostic Page to help Web masters by answering four questions:

  • the current listing of the site
  • what happened when Google visited the site
  • whether it is hosting malware
  • whether it is acting as an intermediary for malware distribution

"All information we show is historical over the last 90 days but does not go further into the past," wrote Niels Provos, senior staff engineer at Google, in a blog post. "Initially, we are making the Safe Browsing diagnostic page available in two ways. We are adding a link on the interstitial page a user sees after clicking on a search result with a warning label and also via an 'additional information' link in Firefox 3's warning page."

According to Provos, Google has featured warning labels on its search results since 2006. The latest announcement, though, comes on the heels of a partnership between Yahoo and McAfee to secure Web search engine results. The two companies announced the start of a beta program for SearchScan, a new Yahoo feature powered by McAfee's SiteAdvisor technology. The feature alerts users of sites with spam, spyware, adware and other malicious software that can infect and damage a user's PC.

Last year, reports surfaced of hackers effectively rigging Google search results so that users would be more likely to click on malware-laden pages. Officials at McAfee reported recently there are as many as 7.8 billion risky sites delivered in search results each month.