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Malware and phishing attack stats brought to Google transparency reports

Google is boosting its online transparency reports by adding details about sources of malware and phishing attacks.

Google will serve up details about how many people see its Safe Browsing warnings each week, where those malicious sites are hosted, how quickly those sites are reinfected after the malware is pulled, and "other tidbits," the company said in a blog post.

Before now, Google's transparency reports documented the number of government requests for user data and government requests to remove data from its network, as well as general information about FBI National Security Letter (NSL) requests and service disruptions by region.

The new data is now available on Google's website.

Google's Safe Browsing programme dates back to 2006. If you navigate to a website that Google believes to be harmful, the company will display a warning, urging you to avoid that site, if possible. Google is now flagging about 10,000 sites per day for malware or phishing.

In April 2011, Google incorporated warnings about malicious downloads into its Chrome browser, which went after downloads that "use social engineering to entice users to download and run the malicious content," like sites hosting free downloads that actually do things like display spam ads, perform click fraud, or steal passwords. Google added malware-specific warnings to search results in July 2011.

Recently, Google filed a petition with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, requesting that it be allowed to reveal via its transparency reports how many requests for information it receives from the secretive court.

Under FISA, the FISC can issue requests for user data from tech companies like Google, but the nature of the court requires that those companies remain quiet about having received any such orders.

In light of recent leaks, however, Google said it wants to be able to discuss FISA to clear up misleading media reports about its cooperation with agencies like the FBI and National Security Agency.