Google’s Head of Webspam Team Matt Cutts announced on his official Twitter account that they’ve delivered more than 20,000 hacked notification message to webmasters. The search engine giant specifically sent the notification to sites with “weird redirects.”
There were a number of websites being redirected to unauthorized content recently. Unfortunately, most webmasters were unaware of this, since the problem only occurs when a user clicks on a link from Google’s search engine result pages. As for the webmaster’s case, he usually goes to his website directly. Thus, the search engine giant decided to disseminate a heads up for webmasters about the situation.
If you think your website is infected, Google’s Webmaster Tools provided steps on how you can fix it.
Is Your Website Infected?
In order to protect users and communicate with owners of hacked sites, Google uses automatic scanners that constantly look for websites that host or distribute malicious software. They will identify whether a site is infected or not based on StopBadware’s criteria and their own procedures and tools.
You’ll know when your website has been identified as infected by visiting the Webmaster Tools home page. However, you need to verify your site ownership to see this information. Furthermore, Google also send notices to webmasters of affected sites.
What Webmasters Should Do
If your site is infected, the next thing you should do is shut it down for a while and remove the malware.
- Prevent Infecting Other Websites: You should take your site down immediately if you think that it’s infected. That way, you can’t infect other websites and prevent hackers from further abusing the system. You should also contact your web host for precautionary measures, and change password information for all of your accounts.
- Determine the Extent of the Damage: The next thing you need to do is identify the scope and scale of the damage. You can use Google’s SafeBrowsing diagnostics page, so you can gather specific information about your site’s malware problems.
- Clean Your Website: Remove any malicious pages or codes that were added on your site or those content identified by the diagnostics page. If you have a backup of your web pages, consider deleting your whole content and replace it with your duplicate write ups.
- Request for a Malware Review: When you’re done, you can request a malware review of your website. On the Webmaster Tools home page, select the site that you want to review, click Site Status and then Malware, and then select Request a Review. If Google didn’t detect anything malicious on your site, your warning label will be removed in a day or two.
In case Google detected an infection on your site, remember that it’s based on your content and not your credibility as a Webmaster.