Your Computer Appears To Be Infected, On Google Search

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 21, 2011
Updated • Dec 16, 2014
Antivirus, Google

A computer with a malware infection causes serious troubles for its owner or the current users, especially if they are not aware of the infection.

The danger itself depends largely on the type and purpose of the malware and can range from stealing files to destructive behavior or using the hijacked computer as a proxy for malicious activities on the Internet.

Google recently discovered what they call "unusual search traffic" during maintenance on one of their data centers. Further analysis of the data revealed that it was caused by malicious software.

The company quickly developed a script to identify computer systems that were causing that search traffic. Computer users who are infected with that specific type of malware will now receive a notification that their computer is infected at the top of their web results.

It reads: Your computer appears to be infected. It appears that your computer is infected with software that interrupts your connection to Google and other sites. Learn how to fix this.

your computer appears to be infected

A link is provided to a Help Center article that explains how to fix the issue on the infected computer. Google offers three suggestions on that page:

  • Install or update antivirus software
  • Perform a system scan
  • Provide Feedback

Interestingly enough, Google suggests to use Google to find a proper antivirus software or use one of the suggested antivirus products. The latter link leads to a page where three anti-spyware programs are offered: Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, Sypware Doctor and MacScan. Not really the type and number of programs one would expect on such a page.

Update: The page has been modified in the meantime. It is not listing to third-party programs directly anymore but suggests to use Google's own Software Removal Tool instead.

Google users who come here researching their infection could download and use one of the following programs as well, which are often suggested in case of infections: Avast Antivirus, Microsoft Security Essentials or Dr. Web Cure It.

Google has released further information on the type of infection yesterday. The company believes that a couple million machines are infected by the malware, which has made their way on computers as a fake antivirus software.

The malware sends traffic to Google through a number of proxy servers. Google has not revealed any more information about the purpose of the virus. A possible scenario among others is click fraud.

Google does not really aid the user in removing the infection from the system. But that's on the other hand not the company's job. They could rework their support pages to include more antivirus solutions and information, but the main aspect here is that they notify users of the infection. (via)

This move is definitely in the interest of users who work on infected machines. It is likely that it limits the damage caused by said malware significantly.

Your Computer Appears To Be Infected, On Google Search
Article Name
Your Computer Appears To Be Infected, On Google Search
Google started to display notifications to users of infected computer systems that their system is compromised on Google Search.

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  1. Film Studios said on August 20, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    I am not surprised Google is doing this & for FREE . It would have been left for the GOV. (US ) to intercede & make the ISP’s protect the consumer for Millions of losses that came from malware that was sent through their network to fix . Then the cost would have been doubled and taxed and passed on to consumer . Thanks Google one again you Do the Right thing and so much more ! W.W.G.D. !
    That should be what those asses in DC should be asking themselves . But if they were top quality like Google then we would not be in this mess . Thanks Google you ROCK & do it with fantastic Results both with consumer & the bottom line !

  2. giedrius said on July 21, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Actually, the program choice google provides is almost good. Typically, this issue is not caused by viruses but programs that are widely called “malware”. Both MBAM and SD have better history of dealing with malware than regular antiviruses one uses.
    Also, there is a catch. Typically, an user has antivirus program present, and should not run 2 programs at the same time. One could run MBAM and some other anti-malware or antivirus scanners without real time protection for cleaning up the system without uninstalling their original antivirus.
    Why the selection is “almost” good? well… The redirect problem might be caused by TDSS rootkit and some other trojans. In case of fresh versions of TDSS, one might have to use either dedicated anti-tdss tool or alternate OS scanner (from bootable CD). Also, I would recommend hitman pro in such cases too

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