This morning, Google search showed all search results as harmful. A link called “This site may harm your computer.” appeared under each search result, even on Google sites! The sites in the results would open but the link saying “This site may harm your computer.” showed a 502 error. This error remained for about half an hour. After a long wait, Google has posted on their official blog regarding the issue.
What happened? Very simply, human error. Google flags search results with the message “This site may harm your computer” if the site is known to install malicious software in the background or otherwise surreptitiously. We do this to protect our users against visiting sites that could harm their computers. We work with a non-profit called StopBadware.org to get our list of URLs. StopBadware carefully researches each consumer complaint to decide fairly whether that URL belongs on the list. Since each case needs to be individually researched, this list is maintained by humans, not algorithms.