Jul 26, 2011

Google’s New Malware Warnings

According to PCmag.com, Google is adding virus alerts to their Internet browser warning users that their system may be infected. Arguably the worlds most popular search engine, Google has already issued warnings to over two million computer owners.

In taking this step, Google hope to solve, or at least partially remedy one of the major problems with contemporary Internet browsers. With the ever growing commercial importance of search engines, an array of malware has been developed, intended to infiltrate and hijack search results. This type of malware anticipates a Google search and reroutes the user, sending them to servers controlled by scammers who then modify and redirect traffic for commercial gain.

Most Antivirus programs will protect your system against malware of this kind; However, standalone browsers remain prone to certain vulnerabilities that can be exploited to infect users visiting a Website. Many of the browser’s vulnerabilities are found in 3rd party plugins (such as Flash, PDF reader plugins, media players, etc.) so the company who develops and maintains the browser does not have full control over the programs run through it. Each side is so busy doing their own thing, nothing is coordinated. (It’s kind of like asking both of my sister-in-laws to organize a party; and yes, in both cases it’s up to me to spend hours sorting out the mess).

Google says that it found “unusual search traffic” when one of its data centers was undergoing a maintenance check. Writing on the company’s blog, security engineer Damian Menscher said: “The malware appears to have gotten onto users’ computers from one of roughly a hundred variants of fake antivirus, or ‘fake AV’ software that has been in circulation for a while. We aren’t aware of a common name for the malware.”
The new malware warning appears at the top of the browser’s search results page in a large yellow box bearing the message “Your computer appears to be infected”. In addition, the warning provides a link to information that will help the user to remove the malware or update their antivirus software.

Google’s effort is commendable, because to users such as myself, it says something about how they are willing to accept responsibility and take action to ensure that their product is both loyal and safe for its customers to use. Never-the-less, nothing could ever be made 100% virus/malware safe. The moment you remedy a virus, patch a program, or secure a backdoor, there will always be somebody, somewhere, busy figuring out a new creative way to infect and exploit other peoples systems.

Google Malware Warning Screenshot

Imagine malware infiltrating your PC in the same way that termites might infest your house; Carving out holes and cavities in order to establish nests, breeding, burrowing and tunneling networks through drywalls allowing for easier access. The professional exterminator (much like antivirus software) that you pay to rid you of the pests will do just that, with additional preventive protection (to a limited extent) for the future. Unfortunately, your exterminator will not repair damage done to the walls of your house. The holes and cavities now lying vacant become a vulnerability just waiting for the next pest, unaffected by the pest-specific pesticide, to infest your home.

Currently, most malware attempts to inflate a user’s system in order to create or open “backdoors” in order to control activity from remote, changing security and system settings as well as redefining the registry. A good updated antivirus will not only recognize but locate and remove/quarantine malware, leaving the damage, as well as any changes in system’s settings and registry as redefined by the malware. I should add that quarantine is not the best solution, as the malware remains in the system.

This is where Reimage exceeds antivirus software. This powerful tool works swiftly around your user data and locates, repairs and replaces damaged and corrupted system files. Reimage will also revert any settings or registry information that has been tempered with, to the default configuration, effectively restoring your system to pristine condition without affecting or harming your personal data. I’m sure that those of you, already using this solution, will agree that Reimage gets the job done, with the entire process hardly taking any time at all.

Leave a comment