If you’ve ever paged through Google search results, you’ve inevitably clicked on a website that leads you to a splash page warning, This site may harm your computer. While this can be alarming at first, you have nothing to fear immediately. This is simply a page Google directs you to if it detects a considerable threat to your system’s security from the website you were headed to.
‘This site may harm your computer’ warning message is a way how Google warns visitors of a website from visiting a compromised website. It is often accompanied by a link to go back or an additional message to try another search result. While this can be a bit of a hassle for the average Google searcher, the appearance of this splash screen can signal a major cause for alarm if it begins to appear on a website you own. Further, a variety of reasons can trigger this warning. Read on to find out what are the possible causes for this site may harm your computer warning and its step-by-step removal process.
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Once you work through these important steps, you’ll be able to remedy this troublesome warning and ensure that your visitors fully trust your website once again.
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Reasons: This site may harm your computer
Google has a vested interest in protecting its users. Clearly, this translates in its measures to prevent visitors from any digital harm. Google will not give up on this even if that means flagging or blocking your website. The ‘this site may harm your computer’ warning page is actually a unique redirect page Google flashes in order to protect its users from accessing malicious content.
The following could be the reasons for Google throwing this redirect page on your website-
Detection of potentially malicious code or programs
Google does not differentiate between intentionally malicious websites and those that have become incidentally dangerous. So, your hacked website will get the same treatment as those truly dangerous websites until you resolve the problem.
Hacked with malware
In most cases, formerly compliant and safe websites are tagged with this warning because they have been secretly hacked and injected with malicious codes or programs. While you may not have noticed these changes, your visitors might notice as these codes and programs execute to infect their browser and computer. This can cause problems ranging from search result modification to sensitive information theft.
Check also – How to scan a website with a Website Malware Scanner
Also, this message appears only after Google reviews your website. As such, only Google can remove this warning through a follow-up review request. Keep reading to know how to remove this site may harm your computer warning from your website.
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Removal: This site may harm your computer Warning Message
As noted, only Google can get rid of this warning message. So, you’ll need to follow their guidance in order to restore your website traffic to normal. Google recommends working through each of the following steps.
Note: create a backup of your site before making any changes in case something goes wrong in the malware removal process!
Verify Your Site on Google Search Console
The process of verifying allows you to prove that you’re the webmaster of the site that’s affected. While this may not directly resolve the issue, it does allow Google better insight into when and to what extent your website is compromised.
To verify your site, go to Google Search Console and sign in to your Google account. From there, find the Add Property button in the menu.
In the window that appears, choose the “URL Prefix” section and type in your site’s URL. Make sure to include the address with https:// and not only WWW. Click continue.
After that, you should see the message that your ownership is verified.
Identify and Eliminate Infections
Now, navigate to the “Security Issues” tab. There you will see the specific URLs within your website that have been infected with malware.
Once you have pinpointed the URLs that are causing trouble, either remove them manually or get experts to help you with the cleanup.
Resolve Security Vulnerabilities
Only removing the malware is not enough. Google may not reinstate you until you also fix the vulnerabilities that allowed the infection in the first place. As such, they recommend visiting their resources for hacked websites in order to better identify and resolve vulnerabilities in your website.
There are several tips that Google gives in order to fully resolve security issues:
– Make sure that the hacker didn’t obtain any personal and confidential information. If there was a phishing attack, visit antiphishing.org and follow their documentation.
– Remove the unfamiliar addition of URLs from Google Search Console. To do this, refer to the step above.
– Make sure to have a clean backup of your site. This will make the cleanup easier as you can restore the clean version of your site.
Request a Review from Google
Once your website is clean and secure, you can request a review of your website. Just go to the “Security Issues” tab in the Search Console, check the box “I have fixed issues”, a window will pop up. Explain the steps you took to clean the hack and submit. After that Google will take 2 to 3 days to review your case and remove the warning if all is okay.
However, triple check if your site is really malware-free and functions as it should! You must be completely sure that the security issues are completely solved. If you submit a website that still has vulnerabilities, it will increase the time your website is flagged as harmful.
If this process does not result in the removal of your website’s warning banner, then contact Google’s Webmaster forums in order to get in contact with a trained security specialist.
Prevention: This site may harm your computer Warning Messages
At the end of the day, it is best to protect your website beforehand than to treat it afterward. There are a few ways you, as a website administrator you can keep your digital defenses at full power. Consider the following as the best methods for preventing this site may harm your computer warning:
Switch to a Safer Web Host
While each individual web hosting option may appear the same on the surface, they certainly do not perform alike in terms of security protocols. Always opt for a trusted hosting solution with effective digital protection.
Finding the right hosting services can be difficult at face value, especially when you are picking them based on their security track record. However, there are some keys to look for when trying to choose a reliable hosting provider.
First, make sure that the web host uses SSL/TSL certificates on all of their hosted websites. This ensures data encryption between the browser and the server. Hence, improving the security of all sensitive data passed through your website.
Also, look for an option that provides explicit protection from DDoS attacks. These most common “direct denial of service” attacks can overwhelm your website and cause it to crash. A quality website host will incorporate devoted security services and repel threats.
Maintain an Anti-Malware Program
As an end-point user, you must install and maintain an anti-malware program on your computer. Tech experts agree that this is the best way an endpoint user can prevent harm from coming to their personal computers. And it also prevents malware from spreading to other hosts like a connected website.
Additionally, as a web owner, you can invest in a premium security solution. Astra is a prime example of that. Its intelligent firewall blocks 100+ threats from coming to your website. Its immediate malware cleanup can save your website from a disaster. It could also help in removing security warnings and blacklistings from your website. Get an Astra demo now!
Perform Regular Updates & Backups
Regular updates work as security patches that fix the vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals tend to use the out-dated versions of various software, plugins, CMS and more to access websites, web servers, or physical machines. Keeping all the software up-to-date will minimize the risk of cyberattacks.
Depending on the software, updates might be automatic or manual. So regularly check if the programs are updated and running smoothly.
Another way to reduce the damage of the hacking attacks is to have a clean backup of your site. A backup is just a complete copy of your website stored separately. If your site is damaged by the malware, you could always restore the clean backup version of it without losing any data. Just like with updates, backups could be automatic or manual. It’s best to check with your web hosting provider and see how often they back up the websites on their servers.
The Bottom Line
True that only Google can remove the “This site may harm your computer” warning. However, you can avoid it altogether and protect your website’s credibility by implementing some security measures. First of all, make sure you’re hosting your site on a safe server with a trustworthy hosting provider. Also, don’t skip on a premium security solution software – scanning your website from time to time will save you a headache later.