How to Remove “This Site May Harm Your Computer” Warning
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 can be caused by a variety of reasons in that website’s security posture. 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.
Resolving this Google warning is of the utmost importance, requiring you to learn more about what causes this alert message, how it can be removed, and how it can be prevented in the future. 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 more.
Related article: How to remove Deceptive Site Ahead warning message
Contents of This Guide
- 1 Reasons: This site may harm your computer
- 2 Removal: This site may harm your computer Warning Message
- 3 Prevention: This site may harm your computer Warning Messages
- 4 The Bottom Line
Reasons: This site may harm your computer
While you may immediately assume that this warning splash page is part of the website, this is actually a unique redirect page provided by Google in order to protect its users from accessing malicious content through their services. Google has a vested interest in protecting its users, meaning that they will do what it takes to prevent them from coming to digital harm – even if that means flagging down and blocking your website.
Google will throw this redirect page out to your visitors for a variety of reasons,
- 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.
Check this: Secure coding checklist
- 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 only appears after your website has been reported and reviewed by Google. As such, only Google can remove this warning through a follow-up review. Keep reading to know how to remove this site may harm your computer warning from your website.
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 to a “T” in order to restore your website traffic to normal. Google recommends working through each of the following steps in order to best resolve this troublesome warning message. Important note: create a backup of your site before making any changes in case something goes wrong in the malware removal process!
1. 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 into 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.
2. Identify and Eliminate Infections
Using the Search Console, navigate to the “Security Issues” tab. There you will see if there are specific URLs within your website that have been infected with dangerous codes or programs. Usually, only one or several specific pages or files on your website might be infected and not the whole site.
Once you have pinpointed the URLs that are causing trouble, either remove them manually or get experts to help you with the cleanup.
3. Resolve Security Vulnerabilities
Just because your site is clean after removing the malware, it might not be 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’s security portfolio.
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 URLs from Google Search Console that were generated by the intruder. 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.
4. Request a Review from Google
Once your website is clean and secure, you can request a review of your website in the “Security Issues” tab in the Search Console. After Google’s webmasters take time to review your case, they should swiftly remove the warning splash screen.
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 Google recommends visiting their 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, the best way to protect your website from becoming infected with dangerous codes and programs is to prevent those malicious actors from ever reaching your host computer in the first place. As such, it is essential that you keep your personal computer’s security posture in full force in order to prevent isolated infections from spreading online.
There are a few ways you, as a website administrator, can keep your digital defenses at full power no matter how you use your website. Consider the following as the best methods for preventing the appearance of the dreaded Google warning splash screen:
1. 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. While some websites will claim to incorporate firewalls and other jargon-like security terms, only those with a proven track record of effective digital protection should be trusted with your website hosting business.
Finding the right hosting services can be difficult at face value, especially when you are isolating 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. While these are traditionally targeted at online merchants, your website can also benefit from the added encryption that these security certificates bring to 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, making it more vulnerable than usual. A quality website host will incorporate devoted security services that can respond to and repel these attacks from reaching your website’s server space.
2. Maintain an Anti-Malware Program
Though it sometimes goes without saying, you simply 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 computer and from spreading to other hosts like a connected website.
There are also some specialized anti-malware programs designed for implementation with your website. Astra is a prime example as their services can scan through your website and quickly quarantine infections that can lead to blacklisting by Google. As a result, this is a great anti-malware solution that can specifically help reestablish your website’s credibility. Get an Astra demo now!
Available in both free and paid iterations, anti-malware programs can scan your computer continuously to identify emergent threats installed on your computer through a network or connection with a compromised website.
3. Perform Regular Updates & Backups
Regular updates work as security patches that spot the vulnerabilities and fix them. 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 cyber attacks.
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
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 specialized anti-malware software – scanning your website from time to time will save you a headache later.