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Google add a ‘hacked site’ alarm into search results

Google have recently added a new feature to their search engine algorithm – a new warning to try and steer users away from compromised sites in their search results.

Google now have a system in place that can tell if a site has been hacked, and a sentence will appear under the search result stating “This site may be compromised”. Google provides a similar warning to direct users away from sites which are found to be infected with malware.

Attackers often use SEO techniques as a way to get victims to visit their sites. They can use tactics such as link farming, keyword stuffing and therefore can abuse search engines to boost the search ranking of malicious pages.

Gideon Wald, the associate product manager at Google said “We’ve provided notices for malware for years, which also involve a separate warning page, 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 them to be confident the information on that site comes from the original publisher. We use a variety of automated tools to detect common signs of a hacked site as quickly as possible, 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.”

Wald said that webmasters who 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.”

KitGuru says: Could this cause false positives?

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