by Jay Wrolstad, newsfactor.com
Google is taking a proactive approach to Web surfing security by issuing
warnings about potentially harmful sites detected during an Internet
Through a partnership with StopBadware.org, which has a vast database of
sites that distribute spyware, spam, and other potentially harmful Web
pages, the search giant initially will caution users who attempt to
click on such a site. An alert from Google will appear that says,
"Warning -- The website you attempted to visit has been reported to
StopBadware.org as a site that hosts or distributes badware."
The advisory page identifies the possible risk and gives you the choice
to return to the query results page or proceed to the questionable site.
Down the road, the general warning will be replaced by the Stop Badware
Coalition to include information specific to a site, such as a
file-sharing network, that describes the potential problems.
Malicious software is wreaking havoc on many Internet users, by
downloading Internet software that appear harmless at first glance, but
can adversely impact computer performance or usher in a flood of pop-up
"This is a smart move by Google to protect its users, and marks a trend
among companies looking to stem the tide of malware," said Forrester
Research analyst Natalie Lambert. She noted that Microsoft is including
a similar capability in the forthcoming Internet Explorer 7 browser,
which will include an indicator that warns users against certain
nefarious Web sites collected in a database and allows users to report
Others taking this approach include AOL, which has enlisted help from
McAfee to safeguard its users. McAfee's Total Protection package
includes a SystemGuards module, which monitors computers for specific
behaviors that might signal virus, spyware, or hacker activity, and a
plug-in called X-Ray for Windows, which is designed to detect and
eliminate "root kits," i.e. hacker software.
The new SiteAdvisor tool is designed to identify potentially dangerous
Web sites that contain spyware or adware. Findings are summarized with
red, yellow, and green icons that provide users with an at-a-glance view
of Web site ratings.
Educating the Masses
Anything that helps inform and safeguard consumers is a step in the
right direction, Yankee Group analyst Jonathan Singer said.
Lambert concurred, pointing out that the distribution of malicious
software is extensive, with hackers and cybercriminals creating
official-looking destinations that are, in fact, "phishing" operations
used to steal personal information.
"Warnings are essential in addressing this problem," says Lambert. "And
the ability to quickly update the listings of questionable sites will
Copyright 2006 NewsFactor Network, Inc.
NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at
http://telecom-digest.org/td-extra/more-news.html . Hundreds of new
articles daily. And, discuss this and other topics in our forum at
For more tech news of interest, please go to: