Has Google hosted malware? SafeBrowsing says: Yes

Screen shot of Google.com on Google SafeBrowsing tool

Screen shot of Google.com on Google SafeBrowsing tool - CLICK, ENLARGE and READ

It all happened unintentionally. I was trying to find out if a particular site has hosted malicious software, acted as an intermediary for further distribution of malware, etc. using the SafeBrowsing Tool of Google, which is now part of Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

But, absentmindedly I typed Google.com instead of the site I was supposed to test. So, I landed up at: http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=google.com

Within seconds I got the results, which I found to be funny as well as thought-provoking. So here it goes partly (read the full report in the screen shot above – CLICK to ENLARGE IT):

Safe Browsing: Diagnostic page for google.com

The first question: What is the current listing status for google.com? In the standard readymade language it says: “not currently listed as suspicious”.

The second question: What happened when Google visited this site?

The answer is truly amazing as it does not exclude Google from its diagnostic results, and it says, “over the past 90 days, 16 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent” (read the rest from the screen shot above, or make a real-time check of SafeBrowsing for Google.com).

The diagnostic result further says the malicious software included: “232 trojan(s), 71 exploit(s), 15 worm(s)”, and lists further damages and “Successful infection” on target machines, and more such details.

And Google says: “13 domain(s) appear to be functioning as intermediaries” for malware distribution that includes an SEO firm, and an advertising company working on a similar style as Google AdSense.

Also the diagnostic report says Google.com appeared “to function as an intermediary for the infection of 35 site(s)” and lists some of them.

And the next question is: Has this site hosted malware? And the emphatic answer is: “Yes, this site has hosted malicious software over the past 90 days. It infected 153 domain(s), including…” and lists some of the infected sites.

And here comes the most interesting part: “Next steps: If you are the owner of this web site, you can request a review of your site using Google Webmaster Tools”.

So, is google.com going to request a review of itself using Google Webmaster Tools?
And the most important question that comes to my mind is: If Google can get this report, can’t they tighten the security measures and prevent further distribution of malware and Trojans?

How to restore your WordPress database from backup using phpMyAdmin

Here is a video tutorial for restoring your WordPress blog/ site contents from backed up database. I came across this highly useful video tutorial while searching for easy methods to reinstall lost posts of WordPress blogs and other sites like static sites powered by WordPress.

Why do you need this tutorial? Well, possibly, sometime or the other you may need such HOW TO videos and tutorials if you are serious about making a successful blog or site (and, of course, money), especially if you are not a techie who is well versed with codex and the complete knowledge about how WordPress, in conjunction with blog themes, plugins, server side applications of your webhosting companies, etc. publishes your blogs.

This tutorial assumes that you regularly backup your sites and that you have a fairly good working knowledge about phpMyAdmin, MySql databases, etc.

There are many important things to take care of while performing this backup. If you do certain things wrong, there may not be another option to try again, because there may be no ‘undelete’ or ‘undo’ options.

A few fairly reliable steps that you have to take care of are:

  1. Keep more than one backup and at different locations so that you can use them if everything goes wrong.
  2. Make sure that your hosting company does not limit your options by making undue restrictions and they will provide you complete support when you are in trouble. Unfortunately, many companies do not give actual technical support after you sign up with them. All hosting companies promise 24/7 support 365 days, but the support will be limited to opening a trouble ticket and a phone chat through which they tell you to follow steps that you may not understand. And the end result will be they blame you for what went wrong or blaming the software that you are using.
  3. So, because most companies keep backups of your sites and they can restore your site within minutes, if they want, it will be a very nice idea to contact your hosts technical support before you try your DO-IT-YOURSELF (DIY) plan. I suggest this because most of the times I had troubles, I got total support from my hosting companies (I use the services of three different hosts), and I did not have to struggle with technicalities that I am not familiar with.
  4. And finally, be ready to seek professional help if nothing works for you. I presume that you are well-informed of these steps, and I take no responsibility if you mess up everything. Also perform a Google search for more info on this topic. Perhaps you will come across better solutions than this.

What happens when your blog shows only blank pages?

You planned well, used your creative skills, used your knowledge of making money online or whatever, and built up a blog or site over a long period of time. And you were successful, either from the point of view of making big money from blogging or nearing perfection in your other goals.

And on a fine morning, or night, you find that your site opens up to show only blank pages, no posts, no images, nothing at all!

If this happens to you what will be your first reaction?

Unless you are a master of codex, html, and all other bits and pieces of things like MySQL, PHP, other software and database requirements and software technologies, your first reaction will be: NOTHING! Or simply put, your mind also goes blank, as your WebPages are.

Let this not happen to you. And let this not happen to any other blogger or webmaster who took blogging or doing anything online as a serious business. But what if it happens? And if you are not good at troubleshooting in case of such problems, what will you do?

I am writing this after solving one such problem that happened to me, and the affected blog is DollarsTips.com, this blog that you are reading.

First, I could not log in, though the site was running alright. As I was busy with so many other things, I could not find time when it happened. I thought let me finish some other important things before doing the needful. But months passed.

In the meanwhile, I started getting messages at my page at Google Webmaster Tools that my site could be facing security and malware threats if I do not update my WordPress version. And I thought it is a signal of imminent danger of getting a Google ban or other problems.

So, yesterday, I started work to restore the missing login form and to do the other updating work.

The reason for getting blank pages or your site going offline can be many, including not updating software, outdated or poorly built themes and web templates, plugins, or you simply messed up everything by editing the core scripts, CSS, php files, etc.

And the inevitable happened.

What next? I did not panic. I know the work. But if things are more complicated, I may end up losing everything. So, I thought of seeking the opinion of experts at WordPress support forum and other sources. But the advice I got was almost similar everywhere and I already knew what they told me to do. Though the experts gave the correct advice, it was not so easy to implement. And I was about to do the same things before going to the forums.

Maybe, I could have easily fixed the problem. Or, any other expert could have done it easily.

A flash of my hosting company’s support staff’s assistance crossed my mind. And I thought that I will try that first before doing anything.

So, I chatted with the HostGator’s technical staff, and I just provided the answers they asked for. It took almost an hour for the person to fix the problem, and I have the site up and running without going off even for a moment.

And you are reading this post just because of the great customer support from HostGator, the web hosting company for this site.

I will continue the story in my next post and tell you in detail about what (all) happened and why should you avoid such problems.