The StopBadware.org malware warnings Google has used to warn searchers of potential malware on websites mistakenly were displayed across nearly all Google search results early this morning.
Searchers found entire pages of Google search results filled with the malware warning “this site may harm your computer”.
The official Google Blog has already issued a statement:
What happened? Very simply, human error. Google flags search results with the message “This site may harm your computer” if the site is known to install malicious software in the background or otherwise surreptitiously. We do this to protect our users against visiting sites that could harm their computers. We maintain a list of such sites through both manual and automated methods. We work with a non-profit called StopBadware.org to come up with criteria for maintaining this list, and to provide simple processes for webmasters to remove their site from the list.
Fortunately for both Google and its users the “error” occurred early Saturday morning in the United States which historically is when search traffic reaches its lowest trough.
This particular Google error also achieved something I believe that until today was unprescedented:
The top four Google Blog search results within the Technology category were dominated by the Google malware story.
The majority of U.S. workers may have been beginning their weekend, but tech workers and bloggers were busy as usual pounding away on their keyboards about the 24/7 world of technology.