Google Cautions Users of Malware Menance

By Ashok Bindra July 21, 2011

According to Google’s official blog, the search giant has detected a particular type of malware that sends out a warning to users that their computers are infected.

“Recently, we found some unusual search traffic while performing routine maintenance on one of our data centers. After collaborating with security engineers at several companies that were sending this modified traffic, we determined that the computers exhibiting this behavior were infected with a particular strain of malicious software, or “malware, ” wrote Damian Menscher, a Google security engineer.

As a result of this discovery, the blog post said that some users will see a prominent notification at the top of their Google web search results.

In his blog, Menscher said that this particular malware causes infected computers to send traffic to Google through a small number of intermediary servers called “proxies.” “We hope that by taking steps to notify users whose traffic is coming through these proxies, we can help them update their antivirus software and remove the infections,” noted Menscher.

The search giant is hoping to use the knowledge to assist as many users as possible. In the meantime, the company is asking users to run a system scan test on your computer by following the steps given in the Help Center.

In a July 20 update, the blogger said that 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. The company is not aware of a common name for the malware.

The company thinks that a couple million machines are affected by this malware. Also, Google engineer Matt Cutts commented on redOrbit.com, “The malware only affects computers running the Windows operating system; and can be tested by running a Web search for any word.”

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Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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