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Google to alert websites to malicious code

Tool improves the "general health of the web"

Google has revealed it will send snippets of malicious code to website owners in a bid to improve the "general health of the web".

The new information will appear as part of Google's Webmaster Tools, a suite of tools that provide data about a website, such as site visits.

Google already emails administrators if its automated scanners detect malicious content on a site. Those pages are then marked in Google's search results with a warning.

Increasingly, cybercriminals seek to hack legitimate web pages and plant malicious software since it may be a long time before those sites are cleaned up or detected as opposed to a newly created domain.

Unfortunately for administrators, there also may be a significant gap in time between when the site is hacked and when they find out their website has been placed on a blacklist.

"We understand the frustration of webmasters whose sites have been compromised without their knowledge and who discover that their site has been flagged," said Lucas Ballard on Google's online security blog.

To webmasters who are registered with Google, the company will send them an email notifying them of suspicious content along with a list of the affected pages. They'll also be able to see part of the malicious code.

"These samples - which typically take the form of injected HTML tags, JavaScript, or embedded Flash files - are available in the 'Malware details' Labs feature in Webmaster Tools," Ballard said.

When the website is clean, administrators can email Google, and their site will be given the all clear.

"We hope you never have cause to use this feature, but if you do, it should help you quickly purge malware from your site and help protect its visitors," Ballard said.

"We plan to improve our algorithms in the upcoming months to provide even greater coverage, more accurate vulnerability identification and faster delivery to webmasters."

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See also: Gmail feature spots incorrect email addresses

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