Google warning users infected with malware

By on July 21, 2011, 9:00 AM

Hopefully this hasn't happened to you in a long time, but how about the last time you used a friend's PC to discover he had installed three different browser toolbars on top of each other and that Google queries were being filtered and redirected to a (usually awful looking) third-party ripoff site.

Recently Google discovered unusual patterns of activity while performing routine maintenance on one of their data centers. Looking more deeply into the search traffic coming in, they were able to determine this corresponded to a group of users that had been infected with malware. Since yesterday, Google has been showing a warning message at the top of search results to affected users (see the screenshot below).

According to the search giant, the notification has already been shown to hundreds of thousands of users, an impressive figure for just 24 hours. They estimate that at least a couple million PCs running Windows are infected by this "fake AV" software (scam antivirus, also known as scareware) that has hundreds of variants. In other words, Google's notifications will not cover a wide range of malware strains, but only the specific ones using certain proxy redirects that were detected by Google engineers in the aforementioned data center maintenance.

Anti-malware tools are actively discussed and recommended on TechSpot. If you want to make sure your PC is safe, a good place to start if you run Windows is to download Microsoft's own Security Essentials software and Malwarebytes Antimalware, both free tools. You will also find personalized malware removal help in our forums courtesy of our kick-ass contributors Broni and Bobbye.




User Comments: 11

Got something to say? Post a comment
Guest said:

every time I go to my in-laws house and fire up their laptop and open a browser window, I am greeted with a minimum of 4 tool bars. This happens weekly; after I cleaned out the last infestation.

howzz1854 said:

nice job Google!... keep doing good please

TekGun TekGun said:

Google is more likely protecting itself, helping users is just a side effect.

aj_the_kidd said:

tekgun said:

Google is more likely protecting itself, helping users is just a side effect.

I will say the malware doesnt really affect google a great deal considering its size, but more so us users

MCJeeba said:

Can't go wrong with Norton.

TekGun TekGun said:

Yea I'm sure Google don't mind millions of it's products, I mean users beings redirected away from it's main income, ie advertising.

Coodu Coodu said:

Working as a computer technician, half our work is this crap. Combofix/Rkill is a god?

Good to see Google appearing to be the good guy? :P But I have to agree with the folks above - has profit protection all over it.

fpsgamerJR62 said:

Whatever motives Google has for doing this, at least it's helping lessen the number of infected PCs on the Net. Some PC users need all the help they can get.

Tazo The Vault Tazo The Vault said:

It's so upsetting that this needs to be done. Far too many people lack even the interest to figure out what things are harmful to their computers.

aj_the_kidd said:

tekgun said:

Yea I'm sure Google don't mind millions of it's products, I mean users beings redirected away from it's main income, ie advertising.

Show a company which does

HiDDeNMisT HiDDeNMisT said:

Every sint time I use a friends or family members computer they always have a min of 4 toolbars. People never learn I tell them time and time again but they don't listen. And then they wonder why there computer is so slow.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.