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.
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:
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.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.