Google makes security moves, warns on malware

Search engine detects and warns on malware issue, and introduces secure URL shortener
Adam Smith
Adam Smith -

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Google has issued a warning regarding a widespread malware infection it has detected.

The search engine recently discovered patterns of unusual search traffic during a maintenance run at a data centre.

Google got in touch with security engineers at other companies who were sending on this modified traffic, and realised that the computers involved were infected with malware. And there are a fair number of them, too.

The Mountain View company noted on its blog page: “This particular malware causes infected computers to send traffic to Google through a small number of intermediary servers called ‘proxies.’”

“We hope that by taking steps to notify users whose traffic is coming through these proxies, we can help them update their antivirus software and remove the infections.”

Want to know if you machine is infected? Then simply head to Google and type in any search (this should get them a few extra hits today, too). If a big yellow warning bar pops up, you’ve been hit by the malware – so click on the “fix” link to do just that.

In another security tightening measure, Google has also introduced a new type of URL shortening facility.

Currently, Google already has a URL shortener, goo.gl. As the company notes, though, often users can’t tell where they’re being sent by these truncated links, and that can be potentially dangerous in terms of malware.

So Google has now launched the new g.co URL shortener. This shortcut will only be able to link to official Google products and services, so you’re safety is (theoretically) guaranteed when using them.

As for goo.gl, it’s not getting the chop, and will continue to be Google’s public URL shortener which can be used to shorten any address.

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