Danger: Malware Ahead Google chrome has blocked access to this page on atechjourney dot com. You can see the image on the left. Imagine the initial horror I went through on seeing this message. My own computer showing me that my own website is malicious. The worst nightmare for anyone who owns a website. I am no immune to that. What hurt me the most is the fact that this is a simple website with no complicated scripts added or blackhat methods incorporated into it. There are no suspicious plugin that I use nor have I tried any genius method to extract money from my website visitors. All I do is write articles like this one periodically on technical issues, hoping that it will help someone facing similar issues.
Back to the problem, even though the message scared the hell out of me, I fixed it in less than 3 minutes. In this article, we will discuss what to do both from the point of a website visitor and also what a website owner needs to do if their website is listed in danger list.
For a website visitor, what to do if you get “Danger: Malware Ahead” message for a website?
Google Chrome browser shows this error message when it detects a web page doing suspicious activity. This malicious activity can be in the form of a malicious script inside the website, illegal coding or illegal redirect links. The recommended step is usually do not proceed, just close the site and try another one.
What if it is a popular website that you regularly visit. More research on this topic, it is clear that all major sites from Huffington Post to CNET at some point have gone through the same problem where the web site visitors got the same error message in google chrome on visiting these sites. Now these websites are popular and have a big reputation to keep up. There is no way these websites will incorporate cheap tactics such as including malicious scripts or introducing redirects misleading the customers for profit.
Reasons for reputed websites showing this message
- Presence of malicious scripts or redirects without the knowledge of the website administrator
- The website is hacked and they have incorporated malicious content inside the website
How to tackle if the message is shown on a reputed website or on a website you trust?
1) Contact system administrator and warn him that google chrome is showing this message. Even if you don’t do, somebody will definitely notify them.
2) Wait till the webmaster fix the issues so that you can view the website without any risk.
3) Please Note: This is to be done at your own risk. If the website in question is a site that you completely trust and have been using for quite some time and you need to view the content inside, then click on Advanced button. There will be a link to ignore the message and proceed at your own risk. This will take you to the website and you can view the content. Make sure you don’t click on any links other than the sites internal links. Don’t click on any advertisements shown on the webpage. Just view the content and then close it. (Clicking on external links or advertisement carries a high risk of getting the malicious script or malicious content getting downloaded to your computer)
For a webmaster, what to do if you get “Danger: Malware Ahead” message on your website?
This may look complicated, but in fact is very easy to solve if you know your website well. Let’s take the below screenshot. The message clearly says “content from images.buddytv dot com, a known malware distributor has been inserted into this webpage.
What might have happened is, HuffingtonPost might have inserted a script which is from buddytv. Most probably the script is some sort of advertisement which the website owners Huffington allowed to show on their webpage. Chances are, the link from the buddytv might be leading to a malicious site or a phishing link or even a coding error. Since it was detected as not safe, google chrome will start notifying its users that this site may be malicious. The solution is simple. Just get rid of the buddytv script from Huffington site.
Let’s look at the screenshot of my site above. It shows content from tablettraining dot net, a known malware distributor has been inserted into this webpage. I know the reason right away. Recently a banner ad for learning iPad using videos was inserted on the right side of my website. Since my website have lot of contents related to iPhone and iPad, I though some of the website visitors might be interested in related training.
To confirm the link is the cause of problem, I cross checked tablettraining dot net link using Firefox browser. It gave me the message shown on the second picture. After confirming the link is malicious, I removed the script, flushed out my website cache files and then checked my website in all web browsers. Fortunately no more error messages. I just learned a new lesson. Be careful when you choose your affiliates.
Another important point to remember is to fix the problem as early as possible. More the time your website is shown as carrying malicious content, the more the chance you scare your site visitors and lose reputation. More time your website is listed as hosting malicious content, higher the chance your site will get registered inside major databases which carry the safe and not-so-safe list. Once your website is listed in the not-so-safe list, it will take some time to come back to the safe list. I was lucky to notice the error in less than an hr and was able to get it fixed without much delay.
Other reasons apart from malicious script
- Presence of Malicious file inside the website’s root folder
- Presence of injected scripts by hackers
What to do if “Danger: Malware Ahead” message is shown for all websites viewed using Google Chrome?
If all websites carry the same error “Danger: Malware Ahead” using Google Chrome, then it should be an issue with chrome browser. Following the steps should take care of the issue.
- Click on customize and control settings on the right corner of chrome window (the icon with 3 bars stacked on top of each other) ,click on settings, click on show advanced settings at the bottom, Under Privacy click on clear browsing data. Check if that fixes the issue.
- Follow the same step as above until you reach the Privacy settings. Click on content settings. Under the Plugin’s, click on disable individual plug-ins settings. This will give you a list of plugin’s installed in google chrome. Chances are some of these plugin are corrupt and that is creating the problem. Disable suspicious looking plugin and the ones that you don’t use anymore. Disable and check if the issue is fixed.
These steps if followed properly should help you in tackling the “Danger: Malware Ahead” error message in Google Chrome.