[This was originally published on the OSVDB blog.]
Reported Phishing/Vulnerable Site! The web site http://www.google.com has been reported as a vulnerable site that may pose a threat to your web browsing. Vulnerable sites do not prioritize security and don’t care about their users and customers. These sites may pose a risk to you, exploit the trust between you and their site and may cause your computer to perform actions you did not approve.
To carry on the scary wording in the style of others; Some web sites are high profile and may seem trustworthy, but you shouldn’t trust them at all. They are full of buggy code, don’t care about protecting their users (that’s you!) and generally suck. Despite using their site as a virtual crutch, you should clearly stay away from them unless it is to send nasty mails or mock them. Again, do not trust Google’s web sites or search engine, because they have been known to be vulnerable. What assholes!
On a more serious note, if anyone at Google is reading this, I hope you pass this on to the jackasses that develop Google Toolbar or whatever hook they use to integrate with Firefox. Not only is it worse than malware (every piece of software tries to get me to install it), it uses misleading wording to scare customers from visiting perfectly safe and innocent web sites (namely this blog). While it caters to morons, it doesn’t give users a real opportunity to learn why a site was ‘blocked’ other than vague wording in the diagnostic page:
My only guess as to why this warning occurs was an incident earlier this year, in which the OSVDB blog fell victim to a zero-day exploit in WordPress. I blogged about the incident to make our readers aware of the incident and clear up any confusion. I assume that Google’s crawl of the this blog noted the script code and subsequently declared us an “attack site”, even though that is hardly the case.
The discouraging part is the “diagnostic page” says that Google visited ONE page in the last 90 days and 0 of those pages resulted in malicious software being downloaded. Google, if you are going to play Lord of the Browser, visit more than one page before you make that determination. To do anything less is a disservice to your users and a fast way to miss obvious malware. The third question mentions “intermediary” which is technically accurate as far as the script code that was injected in a few blog posts. However, the big red warning says nothing about ‘intermediary’ and explicitly labels us as some kind of malware hosting site with the intent of attacking people. That is libelous to say the least. Under ‘How did this happen’, Google mentions that sometimes third parties can inject such code, but doesn’t take the time to help clear this up. If the previous script injection issue is the cause of this, the fact that the script loaded content from a third party domain (in China no less) should be a good indication that WE did not host the malware. Sure, most users are dumb as a rock, but the few smart cookies that click for details should get just that.. details.
What Google Toolbar users may see when visiting this blog:
Finally, I opened the blog post calling Google’s search engine a threat, and I was serious. Google has a track record of vulnerabilities far worse than OSVDB does. Not only in their popular search engine, but their various products too. Besides, the mechanism for reporting potentially dangerous sites is a bit dubious to say the least.
Update: Ends up, we had another iframe injection into one of our posts (which is now removed), and the hunt for how this is happening now begins. That said, while Google’s warning that this site is “dangerous” may have been accurate, their mechanism for warning users in a vague manner (as shown in the image linked off ‘vague warning’) and not warning the site administrator is far from friendly. I can see that Google doesn’t care about warning sites of issues before warning the public, a far cry from ‘responsible disclosure’, something that Google pretends to care about:
This process of notifying a vendor before publicly releasing information is an industry-standard best practice known as responsible disclosure. Responsible disclosure is important to the ecology of the Internet. It allows companies like Google to keep users safe by fixing vulnerabilities and resolving security concerns before they are brought to the attention of the bad guys. We strongly encourage anyone who is interested in researching and reporting security issues to observe the simple courtesies and protocols of responsible disclosure.
Next time OSVDB is informed of a vulnerability that impacts Google products or services, I sure hope it doesn’t slip our mind to contact them. Perhaps the apparent race condition between the vague wording and the not-so-vague wording (below) that users may see constitutes a bug. If they can read this blog, they can see the bug in action and then contact us if they have more questions.
Update 2: Google apparently tried to send mail to our domain: From: Google Search Quality