How to File a Malware Review Request
I registered Microblogger.com back in May of 2005, just a few short months after starting Bargaineering. Back then, Bargaineering was a tiny blog! In the years since, having let the site languish, it became the target of hackers as I stopped updating WordPress on a regular basis. Since I wasn’t doing anything with the domain, getting hacked wasn’t a big deal. I also didn’t want to spend that much time fixing it because, honestly, it was an abandoned site.
Well, with my new found interest in the site, it was time for me to fix what was wrong and make sure any malware that existed on the site was eradicated. I went with the nuclear option – restart the site with a new host, new nameservers, new WordPress install, and go completely brand new. There’s 0% chance of malware because I basically formatted the hard drive and reinstalled the operating system.
Unfortunately, once Google determines you have malware, they will warn every single visitor they can. Your search rankings will be hurt. If you use Chrome, as I do, you’ll see this lovely warning:
That huge warning will make anyone turn back. I’ve turned away from sites that have tripped off that warning and I have all the latest anti-virus/malware detection software installed and updated on my computer. It’s simply not worth it.
So how do you get rid of the warning? First, it’s important to understand what Google thinks is going on. For that, you can review the Safe Browsing diagnostic for your site. The one for microblogger.com is here. You can simply go to http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=[http://yourdomain.com] – replacing yourdomain.com with your site. It will tell you what’s going on. My report said:
What is the current listing status for microblogger.com?
Site is listed as suspicious – visiting this web site may harm your computer.
Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 1 time(s) over the past 90 days.
What happened when Google visited this site?
Of the 1 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 1 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2013-05-21, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2013-05-21.
Malicious software is hosted on 1 domain(s), including sweepstakesandcontestsnow.com/.
This site was hosted on 1 network(s) including AS26347 (DREAMHOST).
Has this site acted as an intermediary resulting in further distribution of malware?
Over the past 90 days, microblogger.com did not appear to function as an intermediary for the infection of any sites.
Has this site hosted malware?
No, this site has not hosted malicious software over the past 90 days.
How did this happen?
In some cases, third parties can add malicious code to legitimate sites, which would cause us to show the warning message.
Yeah, it was hacked. Fortunately, it’s definitely gone because the site is on a new host. Google doesn’t think microblogger.com hosted malware, it just believes we were hacked. Since we fixed the issue, we need to request a review via Webmaster Tools. In there, we saw this:
Next, click the check box that says you certify that you have removed badware or badware links from your site, add comments if you want to (explaining what you did), and click OK. Then wait.
I submitted my request for a review on Friday July 12th, by this morning, the 15th, all was resolved.
Since it’s likely an automated check, I suspect it’s a pretty quick review process as long as you resolved the hack and the malware. Since I went the nuclear route, I was 100% sure the hack was gone.
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