This Internet May Harm Your Computer

A human error this weekend affecting Google’s safe-browsing functionality tagged all websites on the Internet as “This site may harm your computer” (Official Google Blog), meaning all sites were allegedly infected by malware. The people at Google fixed the problem fast. But no doubt there were quite a few business owners, webmasters and bloggers who got a nail-biting taste of what it looks like when the cyber-criminals successfully manage to get past your security.

But did the scare prompt web developers, marketing professionals and business managers to give a little more thought to their website security measures? Perhaps this false alarm will turn out to be a good prompt for organizations to address web security vulnerabilities that they may have ignored until now.

To keep your site secure and avoid the dreaded “This site may harm your computer” message in the search engine listings for your website, the StopBadware site affiliated with Google has some good suggestions (ones which sound awfully familiar if you’ve been reading this blog, actually).

Recommendations from StopBadware include:

1. When looking for malware on your site, especially malware due to hacking attacks, check the source code of your site as it is currently hosted on your web servers.

2. If your site has been hacked, take your website offline while you clean and secure it, to prevent your site’s visitors from being unwittingly infected in the interim.

3. Regularly scan your website for security vulnerabilities (in the infrastructure, application environment, and the web application itself)

Best of luck keeping your websites and web applications safe. But keep in mind that responsible developers, webmasters and managers make their own luck by taking the necessary steps so they never have to read the dreaded warning, “This site may harm your computer”, when it comes to their own online presence.