If you’ve ever visited a website only to be greeted by a red screen warning you about a malware infection, you’ve found a blacklisted site. Search engines do their part to protect users everywhere from malware and cybercrime through a process known as “blacklisting.” While this can be helpful, it is not the most reliable way to look for malware. We’ll discuss what blacklisting does and does not do, as well as the most effective ways to know if a website is infected with malware.
To encourage a safer internet and protect users from dangerous malware infections, Google and other popular search engines review websites for malware.
It’s not always obvious when a website has malware, so these warnings are intended to be helpful to the average website visitor.
Search engines detect malware by sending out bots (the good kind) to crawl or “index” your site. The primary purpose of indexing is to make the crawled pages available to appear in search results, but these bots also look for website malware. If malware is definitely detected on the site, the website will be inaccessible to visitors, or “blacklisted.” Blacklisting means that the site will be removed from search results so that it can’t be found through search, and a warning will prevent direct visitors from entering the site. This prevents visitors from being affected by malware attacks, which could steal their personal data, send spam, or even spread more malware.
Unfortunately, while it may sound like blacklisting makes it easy to know when a website has malware, this isn’t always the case.
The truth is, blacklisting occurs only when malware is definitely identified and there is no chance of a false positive. This is done because blacklisting can be devastating to a business’s bottom line and reputation. However, this has two major drawbacks:
Blacklisting is still a valuable service that protects many from harmful malware infections. However, blacklisting is not designed to protect website owners, and it is dangerous to rely on search engines to find malware. Fortunately, whether you’re a website owner or just a visitor, you won’t need to.
While many types of malware are difficult to detect with the naked eye, some common malware attacks do show symptoms that all visitors should be aware of:
While this can help the average visitor detect an infected site, website owners will need to take it a step further to be sure their website is free from malware.
A website scanner is the easiest, most efficient, and most effective way website owners can look for malware. You’ll also save time and money – you don’t have to look for malware yourself, or hire an expert to look for you. SiteLock offers a powerful website scanning solution that not only works automatically, but also includes the following:
For the most accurate and efficient protection against malware, check out our plans and pricing today. To see how SiteLock has protected other businesses from blacklisting, check out our customer stories and SiteLock reviews.