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MurrayM

1995 posts

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#197988 21-Jun-2016 15:40
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As we all know Google detects malware on websites and if found it will add a warning to that site in its search results. It will also add it to a blacklist that Chrome (and other browsers?) use, so if anyone tries to visit the infected site then they'll get a warning.

 

One of the websites that is operated by the company I work for acts as a directory site, and links to thousands of other sites. The other day we received a message from Google advising that our site was being blacklisted because one of the sites that we linked to was hosting malware. This resulted in anyone visiting our site in Chrome (and maybe other browsers that subscribe to Google's blacklist) receiving a warning, making people think that our site was infected!

 

We fixed the problem by removing the link to the offending site and validating with Google, which was enough for Google to remove our site from their blacklist.

 

But the problem remains, what if this happens again in the future? If any site that we link to gets infected then it can impact on our site, which isn't good.

 

Can anyone confirm for me that this is indeed how Google works? That it blacklists sites that link to infected sites?

 

I find it hard to believe that this is how it works, as if it is correct then many sites are in danger of being blacklisted. I mean, if I post a public comment on Facebook that links to an infected site then is Google going to blacklist Facebook? If I post a link to an infected site on Geekzone then will Geekzone be blacklisted? This would make it very easy for people to harm the reputation of sites.

 

I did some digging and found another directory site that also links to the infected site that affected us, and Google lists them on its "Safe Browsing Site Status" page for the infected site as linking to the infected site, but for some reason it hasn't blacklisted them.

 

I've suggested adding rel="nofollow" to our external links, as a way of advising Google that we don't endorse the external sites, but I don't know if this is enough to fix the problem.

 

Comments from anyone on this issue?


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freitasm
BDFL - Memuneh
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  #1578019 21-Jun-2016 22:40
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First I assume you use Google Search Console (previously Webmasters Tools)?

 

Second, checked Google Safe Browsing (Google Safe Browsing status for Geekzone)?

 

Are you sure your site is not doing a 301 redirect to those sites, via a click counter script for example? Or perhaps an iframe?

 

 





 

 

These links are referral codes

 

Geekzone broadband switch | Eletcricity comparison and switch | Hatch investment (NZ$ 10 bonus if NZ$100 deposited within 30 days) | Sharesies | Mighty Ape | Backblaze | Coinbase | TheMarket | My technology disclosure


MurrayM

1995 posts

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  #1578068 22-Jun-2016 07:44
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Thanks for your help.

 

freitasm:

 

First I assume you use Google Search Console (previously Webmasters Tools)?

 

 

Yes, that's how Google notified us that our site had been blacklisted.

 

freitasm:

 

 Second, checked Google Safe Browsing (Google Safe Browsing status for Geekzone)?

 

 

We did that, it said our site had been banned for linking to the infected site. We checked the infected site and again Google's Safe Browsing Status said it was banned. After removing the link to the infected site and advising Google we did another status check and now it says we're ok but lists that in the past we were sending visitors to the infected site.

 

freitasm:

 

 Are you sure your site is not doing a 301 redirect to those sites, via a click counter script for example? Or perhaps an iframe?

 

 

 

Our listing pages have a "Website" link for each business amoungst their other details, and that links to a url-redirect.php page on our site and passes into that page a few parameters, including a listing ID and the URL to redirect to (we do it this way so we can track clicks on external links for reporting, etc). I ran a typical url-redirect.php link through http://web-sniffer.net/ and it says we're sending a 302 Found status and setting the Location header to the true destination of the external site. No iframes.


 
 
 
 


freitasm
BDFL - Memuneh
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  #1578071 22-Jun-2016 07:50
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There is your problem.

Track clicks using Google Analytics script and get rid of the 302.




 

 

These links are referral codes

 

Geekzone broadband switch | Eletcricity comparison and switch | Hatch investment (NZ$ 10 bonus if NZ$100 deposited within 30 days) | Sharesies | Mighty Ape | Backblaze | Coinbase | TheMarket | My technology disclosure


MurrayM

1995 posts

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  #1578076 22-Jun-2016 08:22
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Thanks, I'll pass your suggestion on to the people that look after the site.

 

Just for my education, are you saying that Google doesn't like seeing 302 redirects or somehow treats them differently to a direct link?


freitasm
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  #1578078 22-Jun-2016 08:30
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A 301or 302 makes you responsible for the content. It tells browsers that your content has moved. It implies ownership and you assert your content is on a malicious website if you do that and point to a compromised domain.




 

 

These links are referral codes

 

Geekzone broadband switch | Eletcricity comparison and switch | Hatch investment (NZ$ 10 bonus if NZ$100 deposited within 30 days) | Sharesies | Mighty Ape | Backblaze | Coinbase | TheMarket | My technology disclosure


MurrayM

1995 posts

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  #1578079 22-Jun-2016 08:36
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Ah, now it's beginning to make more sense to me!

 

I've found some articles that talk about 301's and 302's and how Google handles them, unfortunately these articles are looking at it from an SEO position and don't mention malware or harming your reputation.


1101
2318 posts

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  #1578118 22-Jun-2016 10:25
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MurrayM:

 

I find it hard to believe that this is how it works....

 

 

My god, of course it should work like that.

 

Lets see, you have links to malware infected sites, what do you honestly expect. Take some damn responsibility .

 

frown

 

 


 
 
 
 


Oblivian
4314 posts

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  #1578201 22-Jun-2016 11:09
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The site (if crawled and rankable) will likely also be downscaled in search hits if Google have their way. It's a form of backlinking (Cursed SEO tactics.. sure, Ill pay you and your pals $5 for 15 links to my site.. I don't care if you spam them in a vbulletin forum profile and cause a lot of rage...) *ahem*. They take followed links quite serious these days it seems.


mikespook
12 posts

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  #1578696 22-Jun-2016 22:34
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MurrayM:

 

Ah, now it's beginning to make more sense to me!

 

I've found some articles that talk about 301's and 302's and how Google handles them, unfortunately these articles are looking at it from an SEO position and don't mention malware or harming your reputation.

 

 

There is some semantics about HTTP status.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_HTTP_status_codes#3xx_Redirection

 

In words, 301 means "Hey, I've moved my address to [URL], go to [URL] to visit me next time."

 

While 302 means "I've an alternative address [URL]. Please visit [URL] for more information."

 

To your case, 

 

"Hey, I've moved my address to [URL], yes, it's a malware, visit as you wish."

 

"Please visit [URL] for more information, despite it's a malware."

 

Definitely, Google will put your site on the blacklist. 

 

 


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