Home > News > Google Search Problems created from Stopbadware.org Error

Google Search Problems created from Stopbadware.org Error

January 31, 2009

Every result from Google search this morning is being marked that “this site may harm your computer”. This error appears to stem from a stopbadware.org outage. It is not clear what has caused the outage of stopbadware.org, but hopefully they will release news soon.

In 2007, Google partnered with stopbadware.org to check for malicious content on the web and alert users. It appears that the implementation of this integration was not tolerant of errors.

Several other sites from Google, including their help sites, are running slow this morning.

Update: As of 9:24AM CST, the error appears to be resolved on Google’s search result, although stopbadware.org is still offline.

Update 2: The Google blog gave an explanation of the error. The list of bad URLs that Google imports from stopbadware.org accidentally included the “/” URL, which blocked everything. The source of the problem was human error.

As the commenters have noted, the outage of stopbadware.org was a denial-of-service from the massive Google hits, although it appears they were still the origination of the error.

Update 3: The Google blog has updated its statement around the cause of the error, clearing stopbadware.org of any fault. Google has taken responsibility for adding the “/” URL to the malicious site lists.

Google Blog

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  1. January 31, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Could it be that StopBadware.org went down because everyone clicking through a Google Result saw the link to it and attempted a visit? Maybe the cause/effect your suggesting was actually reversed.

  2. Warren
    January 31, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I think this may also be backwards… a link to stopbadware.org shows up on the “this site may harm” pages that result from clicking links-so-labeled on google.

    So when everyone’s search, in the nation, results in a page linking to that website, it really wouldn’t be surprising to see it go down either.

  3. January 31, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    correction: your=you’re

  4. sergey brin, still a billionaire
    January 31, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    How much did this problem end up costing Google in lost revenues? Also, how stoned was the Google engineer that goofed this up?

  5. January 31, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    You’re wrong. StopBadware.org went down after these errors appeared on Google Search.

  6. January 31, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Google says problem this monring was “Very simply, human error.” http://u.mavrev.com/18lo

  7. January 31, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Hi Todd,

    There is a lot of misinformation flying around right now. StopBadware has a statement up on our blog explaining what we know about what happened.

    One important thing to clarify is that it is Google, not StopBadware, that generates the list of URLs to warn against. Our FAQ contains much more detail on how the warnings work.

    Can you let readers of this post know that StopBadware has a statement up?


  8. February 25, 2009 at 5:46 am

    Hmm, very cognitive post.
    Is this theme good unough for the Digg?

  9. July 1, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Badware Problem
    The reason why this virus comes is only because of the either of the following:

    You have a weak or vulnerable code on your website which is exploited by a hacker.

    Your FTP password is weak and generally a dictionary word which is cracked by brute force attempts.

  10. July 1, 2009 at 9:55 am

    How Iframe Virus Works?
    The hackers behind this have not actually “hacked” into servers, but are using the Webs OWN programming errors to inject this code into search results pages created by the websites own internal search engines!

    The hacker searches for popular keywords (like “furniture” on the Wal-Mart website) using its internal search engine. But instead of running a normal search, the hacker adds on an HTML command to the end of his search string. This command then opens up an invisible “iframe” window in the victims browser which then redirects to a malicious website, which then (if successful) installs fake antispyware or a version of the “Zlob Trojan Horse” – a malware on the victims computer.

    These hackers actually have great Google rankings too! and in order to boost their Google rankings, websites often save a copy of these search results and submit them to Google. When a victim searches Google for the keyword, these cached search results then pop up, with the malicious code now inside them.

  11. September 3, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Excellent site, keep up the good work

  1. January 31, 2009 at 3:56 pm
  2. January 31, 2009 at 4:17 pm
  3. January 31, 2009 at 6:06 pm
  4. February 1, 2009 at 2:42 pm
  5. February 1, 2009 at 4:29 pm
  6. February 2, 2009 at 3:56 pm
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