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Google glitch – “This site may harm your computer.”

Saturday, January 31st, 2009 | News, Security | 2 Comments

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Click for full size

Earlier today, Google experienced a rather significant glitch: All search results showed the “This site may harm your computer.” warning.

Normally this warning does a decent job of highlighting common, major sources of malware (and other unwanted things). Google reasonably disables potentially harmful links, and redirects to an intermediary page that (a) provides more information, and (b) requires you to copy + paste the address if you want to continue. It’s not perfect, but it’s another decent layer. So normally: if you see this warning you should pay attention.

For quite some time this morning, though, Google search was basically broken. The warning mistakenly showed up for all sites – which disabled clicking through to search results, cached copies of the pages, and essentially all of the usefulness of the search.

Google has since fixed the problem, but a screenshot is provided above for posterity.

UPDATE: It seems there is a lot of confusion about this on the Internet. To clarify:

The glitch was not caused by an infection on your computer. The problem was on Google’s end, and affected (seemingly) everyone.

If you are still seeing search results pages with all of the links marked as potentially harmful, try clearing your browser’s cache and refreshing the page.

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Patches released for serious IE, Firefox flaws

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008 | Security | 2 Comments

Microsoft has released a patch to fix a critical flaw in Internet Explorer.

This flaw is being actively exploited to compromise machines and install malware/spyware/rogue programs, so please run Windows Update and download the update immediately. Even if you don’t use IE for the majority of your browsing, other programs may use its underlying engine to display content.

Mozilla just released updates for Firefox 2.0 and 3.0 as well, to fix its own set of security issues. Be sure to run “Help” > “Check for Updates” in Firefox to update to the latest version.

Also please note: Firefox 2.0.0.19 is the last security update that will be released for Firefox 2.x. If your system supports it, you should upgrade to Firefox 3 as soon as possible.

Keeping your browser of choice up-to-date is imperative. It’s your first line of defense against the bad side of the web.

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