Google’s “Your Computer Appears to be Infected” Risks

If you are a frequent Google user, then you should have already seen the black bar at the top of the page introduced when Google+ was launched a few weeks back. That bar is also going to be used to deliver messages to their users.  The first message that was sent out looked similar to the one above, it reads:

Your computer appears to be infected:
It appears that your computer is infected with software that intercepts your connection to Google and other sites. Learn how to fix this.

The only problem is that many of us, if not all, have had horrible experiences clicking on “click here to remove a virus” or any other weird message. So when you see something from Google stating “your computer is infected with software learn how to fix this” the first thing that comes to mind was “silly hackers, you thought you had me!” but this time, the message really was from Google and not hackers.

Damian Menscher, a security engineer over at Google, found that millions of computers world wide were infected with a computer malware that automatically modifies your search results served up by Google. The malware attempts to point you to websites that serve up additional malware, or other websites instead of the planned search results.

Google hopes that this new warning message will help raise the awareness to  security problems and will encourage people to update their anti-virus software. Unfortunately, I see something else, a huge flaw that could be exploited in the future by cyber criminals that will copy the warning message from Google to direct their users to dangerous websites full of malware… after all they were directed by a Google copy so why would you doubt that? I give it less than a year before someone comes up with a scam message.

I’m not saying that google shouldn’t be warning their members, but I think this is a double edged sword. If you have gotten the message labeled above, click on the “Learn how to fix this” area It will take you to one of its webpages for really offer you some assistance on the matter.

One of the options that the page offers is to search Google for anti virus software, but again, you need to be careful when you are searching for that, ALWAYS make sure the site has been verified… AKA if you are searching for Norton Anti Virus, do NOT click on the Free-Norton-Antivirus-for-life.com link… even though the page might look like an original page, it’s not and in fact, you will end up getting infected by the very virus the page is claiming to protect you from.  And please, do NOT try to download Norton from a  “free Norton anti virus download link” those hardly ever work. Overall, just be safe, and like the old saying goes, be smarter than what you’re working with.