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Google updates its site verification process to stop the spread of malware

(Image credit: Image Credit: Asif Islam / Shutterstock)

Google had decided to rework the way it classifies dangerous and harmful sites in an effort to better protect users from being infected by malware.

The search engine has tried to protect its users for a number of years by displaying a warning when a link appears that could lead them to an unsafe site trying to infect their systems with malware or trying to obtain their personal information through phishing.

However, sites were able to bypass Google's warning by making temporary adjustments that would allow their site to be successfully verified by the search engine. Once the verification process was complete, they would undo the changes they had made and their site would then be able push unsafe content to users while appearing to be safe.

Google has now changed its policies regarding site verification to list sites that engage in these kind of activities as “repeat offenders.” As of now, any site that switches from 'compliant' to 'policy-violating behaviour' will be labelled as a repeat offender and it will be unable to request to be reverified for 30 days.    
The warning will appear in search results for 30 days and will hopefully decrease traffic to these unsafe sites. Once that time period is up, the webmaster of the site in question will then be able to request for a review of their site by Google.

Google has noted that its new policy will not apply to sites that are hacked and will only affect those intentionally spreading malware and other harmful content.

Image Credit: Asif Islam / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
Anthony Spadafora

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.