Google Warns Users about Malware Infection
Article by George Norman
On 20 Jul 2011
Some users will be presented with a yellow prompt when using the Google search engine, prompt that says their machines are infected with malware. That’s because the Mountain View-based search engine giant has uncovered traffic patterns consistent with malware infection; and if the user’s computer displays those traffic patterns, then the yellow warning prompt will show up.

Here’s how the prompt looks like.

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The Learn how to fix this link in the prompt leads to this webpage. The webpage presents detailed instruction on how to install antivirus software, how to update antivirus software, and how to perform a system scan using antivirus software. The webpage also provides instructions on how to manully remove the malware in case the system scan doesn’t detect it or in case the antivirus software did not clean the entire infection.

Damian Menscher, Security Engineer on the Google Online Security team, explained that Google came across the malware while performing routine maintenance on one of its data centers. “After collaborating with security engineers at several companies that were sending this modified traffic, we determined that the computers exhibiting this behavior were infected with a particular strain of malicious software,” said Menscher.

Menscher went on to say that infected machines send traffic through a small number of proxies (intermediary servers). When Google detects that traffic is generated via these proxies, it will present the user with a notification. Google hopes that when the user sees the prompt he will update the antivirus product he has in place and the antivirus product will remove the infection; or the user will install an antivirus product and that product will remove the infection.

Speaking of antivirus products, I am reminded of Robert Siciliano’s tip #14 for better social media security (Robert Sicialiano is an Identity Theft Expert and Consultant for McAfee). Tip 14 said that you should a security software solution and keep it up-to-date. Not just any security software solution; make sure your solution can protect against viruses, spyware, spam, has a built-in firewall and features a website safety advisor.

Tags: Google, Security, Malware
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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