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Google opens up URL blacklist

Security API spots dangerous URLs

Google has released an API that enables other applications to access its blacklist of URLs (uniform resource locators) that may have malicious programs.

Developers can incorporate the API (application programming interface) into their applications that deal with user-generated links, Google said on its security blog.

Hackers often create websites designed to infect computers with malware and spread links to those sites in forums and through spam, among other methods.

The release of the API adds to Google's noteworthy moves of late in the security field. Last month, Google bought GreenBorder, a company that makes browser software designed to halt the effects of an infection by malicious software.

Google said the API is ‘experimental’ and ‘we fully expect to change the protocol over time to improve the service’. Google is encouraging developers to sign up for a key, although it said developers should contact the company if more than 10,000 users would be making regular calls to the API.

"Your client application can use the API to download an encrypted table for local, client-side lookups of URLs that you would like to check," Google said.

Google also advised that developers may only warn users "about a particular site if your application has checked with Google for a list update within the past 30 minutes and confirmed that the URL is on the updated list”.

Google's blacklist is used in the Firefox browser as well as Google Desktop, the company's desktop search application.

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