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Google looks to scrape away scumware, as only it can

Sign up for webmaster tools if you want advance notice of your blacklisting

By Shaun Nichols, 24 Feb 2015

Google is looking to cut down on the risk of attacks from web pages serving up unwanted downloads.

The company said on Monday that it will add security protections into Chrome, Ads and Google Search in an effort to keep users away from sites believed to be installing adware, browser toolbars and other nuisance programs.

For Chrome, Google will begin giving users warnings when they view sites known to serve up not only exploits but also potentially unwanted software downloads. The site will show an alert to users warning that a site could install adware or browser plug-ins.

Search, meanwhile, will also begin to look for and report "deceptive" sites that covertly serve up the potentially unwanted downloads. The company said that it will aim to reduce the presence of such pages in its search results.

Finally, the company said that it would be working to scrub the offending pages from its Ads platform to prevent the nuisance sites from showing up on pages that serve up Google ads.

"If you're a site owner, we recommend that you register your site with Google Webmaster Tools," wrote Google software engineer Lucas Ballard.

"This will help you stay informed when we find something on your site that leads people to download unwanted software and will provide you with helpful tips to resolve such issues."

The subject of potentially unwanted software- tools that don't necessarily perform malicious activities but can also slow down a system or hinder users- was brought into the spotlight last week when a piece of software bundled with Lenovo systems known as 'Superfish' was found to contain security vulnerabilities considered by researchers to pose a critical risk to users. ®

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