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Google bug vexes Saturday morning searches

A glitch that apparently occurred in Google's “Stop Badware” program led to what Verizon's security blog called a “self-inflicted denial of service” Saturday morning, with all search results warning “this site may be harmful to your computer.”

It's unclear exactly when the problem began, but Verizon's security team said it first appeared to them at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time and was resolved about an hour later. Other blog posts and discussions on message boards reported the same time frame. There was no response from Google to a post at a user forum reporting the problem and no one from the Google press office answered a voicemail or an e-mail message left Saturday morning.

According to Verizon, as well as various bloggers who write about security issues, the warnings came from Stopbadware.org, which is a domain registered by Google, which uses bots to identify sites that may contain malicious software and then warns users to stay away from them.

The result on Saturday morning was that nearly all search results came back with a warning and if a user clicked on it they were redirected to an interstitial page saying the site could be malicious. Around 10:30 a.m. ET, though, clicking on the warning link generated a server error message.

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