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Google reveals Safe Browsing figures

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Five years of Google Safe Browsing

Google’s Safe Browsing initiative celebrates its five year anniversary this week by revealing data about how it’s tackling malicious content online.

According to internal figures, Google protects some 600 million users, and in doing so finds 9,500 infected sites every day. Some have been deliberately created to cause mayhem with malicious content, while others are innocent victims of security breaches. The company also issues between 12 and 14 million warning notifications per day, and urges users to heed their advice.

Meanwhile, the number of infected sites discovered by Google per month is down to around 150,000, after a worrying spike of 350,000 in 2009, which perhaps suggests that the warnings offered are a successful deterrent and prevent many people from falling into traps.

This kind of positive impact is more good news for Google, just a week after they joined the Ads Integrity Alliance to try and tackle bad adverts. Google’s official blog said: “Our tangible impact in making the web more secure and our ability to directly protect users from harm has been a great source of motivation for everyone on the Safe Browsing team”

Adapting to new challenges

Of course, those people intent on spreading malicious content are always adjusting their tactics. Phishing and attack sites dropped encouragingly in 2011, but have since made a comeback, and indeed Google now finds more offenders per month than it ever has before.

Google has also found these sites to be faster and more focused than before. They remain online for less time to avoid detection and only go for sites that offer them maximum value. They also seem to be targeting social media users by tricking them into clicking seemingly innocent links.

To try and tackle these new problems, Google’s online security team has reiterated that people should never ignore its warning notifications. It has also appealed to users to warn their online security team of anything suspicious, and recommended that all new sites sign up to Webmaster Tools.

Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword, said: “Users want to know that they can feel safe online, and in that respect it is good that Google can show the measures it is taking to protect them. This is clearly an ongoing battle, so it will be a comfort to many to see that Google is well prepared for future challenges.”

Written by James Riches

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