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Google Launches Online Security Blog

Google has launched an Online Security Blog. The introductory post explains why online security is an important topic for Google and web users. Google says their investigations have found 12 million suspicious URLs and about 1 million that engage in what Google calls "drive-by downloads." Google also said that many of the websites may be unaware that they are infected. It also contains a couple maps -- one of them shows the location of malware distribution servers.
Online security is an important topic for Google, our users, and anyone who uses the Internet. The related issues are complex and dynamic and we've been looking for a way to foster discussion on the topic and keep users informed. Thus, we've started this blog where we hope to periodically provide updates on recent trends, interesting findings, and efforts related to online security. Among the issues we'll tackle is malware, which is the subject of our inaugural post.

Malware -- surreptitious software capable of stealing sensitive information from your computer -- is increasingly spreading over the web. Visiting a compromised web server with a vulnerable browser or plugins can result in your system being infected with a whole variety of malware without any interaction on your part. Software installations that leverage exploits are termed "drive-by downloads". To protect Google's users from this threat, we started an anti-malware effort about a year ago. As a result, we can warn you in our search results if we know of a site to be harmful and even prevent exploits from loading with Google Desktop Search.

Unfortunately, the scope of the problem has recently been somewhat misreported to suggest that one in 10 websites are potentially malicious. To clarify, a sample-based analysis puts the fraction of malicious pages at roughly 0.1%. The analysis described in our paper covers billions of URLs. Using targeted feature extraction and classification, we select a subset of URLs believed to be suspicious for in-depth investigation. So far, we have investigated about 12 million suspicious URLs and found about 1 million that engage in drive-by downloads. In most cases, the web sites that infect your system with malware are not intentionally doing so and are often unaware that their web servers have been compromised.
There is no question malware is a very serious and overwhelming problem. The post also includes a link to StopBadware.org's Tips for Cleaning and Securing a Website, a webpage designed to help webmasters keep their sites malware free.


Posted on May 26, 2007











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