Google Safe Browsing: 5 Years Old

5 years have passed since Google first announced it’s plan to protect all users of their search engine from malware and phishing attacks, with its Safe Browsing policy.

Today, following what was originally a somewhat humble goal of returning clean search results to queries, they are now the Internet’s main deterrence against these types of threats and provide automatic protection for any website visited by any method, and not just for their browser Chrome, but for Firefox and Safari as well.

Some numbers from the announcement on the Google security blog,

* 9 500: How many new malicious websites are found each day
* 600 000 000: The number of web users currently under currently being protected by Google Safe Browsing.
* 300 000: Warnings issued each day for suspicious downloads
* 12 – 14 Million: Search results warned against by Google, every day.

The individual web user isn’t all that Safe Browsing protects. Websites that register through Webmaster Tools can receive notifications if Google find any irregularities or threats on their site. Even ISPs receive warnings about their networks.


Phishing scams are one of the most common on the internet today as many don’t even require much technical computer knowledge. A site will pretend to be a link from another popular site and persuade the user to submit sensitive information such as passwords, banking details or personal details.

In the past, many of these came in the form of e-mails but today increasingly sophisticated scams can even temporarily infiltrate the site they’re pretending to be connected to and have users on that site directly link to theirs. Phishing sites can also get you to download and install malware by saying it’s another software package or file.

They can problematic to find as many only exist for a couple of hours or will target specific users, banks or other institution.


One of the biggest security issues on the internet today because of how inconspicuous it can be and how easily it gets onto your computer.

Malware sites work by getting users to perform a certain input in order to get permission to install harmful add-ons onto your browser or software on your computer. The reasons for this vary but revolve generally around collecting valuable financial or user habit data.

Websites are either built specifically to spread malware to anyone who visits them or existing, sometimes popular, sites are infiltrated and redirects are added in the links to the malware site.

Good Prevention Practices

* Don’t ignore Google warnings when visiting sites or following links.
* Site owners should register with Webmaster Tools to receive notifications on suspicious code found on their sites.
* Report sites if that behave strangely, such as: falsely claiming to be connected to another site or attempting to automatically download software.