NEWS

Google Searches Warn Against Hacked Web Sites

By Matthew Harwood

In an effort to help its customers avoid compromised Web sites, Google has added a new  tool to its search engine that notifies users when it has detected suspicious activity on a Web site, the company revealed last Friday.

When Web surfers use Google to search for something, a "This site may be compromised” warning will appear underneath the search result if Google detects anything suspicious. If users click on the "This site may be compromised" link, they will be transported to Google's Help Center and receive this explanation.

If a site has been hacked, it typically means that a third party has taken control of the site without the owner’s permission. Hackers may change the content of a page, add new links on a page, or add new pages to the site. The intent can include phishing (tricking users into sharing personal and credit card information) or spamming (violating search engine quality guidelines to rank pages more highly than they should rank).

Search-engine users, however, will still have the ability to ignore the warning, click on the search result, and get transported to the Web site.

But with every security measure, there are people who could be adversely affected. In this case, they are Web masters whose sites have been compromised by a hacker.

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