Google Blacklists the Entire Internet

Ralph DeFrangesco

On Saturday, Google blacklisted the entire Internet.

 

As I get up off the floor from laughing, let me explain. I was doing Google searches Saturday morning preparing for class and I noticed that all of my results were flagged with "This site may harm your computer." Up until Sunday morning, I thought that my virus protection software might have caused the problem. It has an unsafe link check that looks for URLs that are questionable.

 

Google posted a message on their blog explaining the problem. Google works with StopBadware.org, a non-profit organization, to tag questionable sites that may install malicious software. Google gets updates of the file periodically. StopBadware updates its file manually because every link has to be checked. It accidentally checked '/' as a value to flag. Unfortunately, '/' is the root of all URLs, so every site on the Internet was flagged as possibly being harmful to your computer. Even Google's own sites were flagged as questionable. StopBadware is operated out of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. The center was able to react quickly and fix the problem within an hour.

 

What I find humorous about this whole thing is how one organization can have such a negative impact on the Internet. The only other organization that I can think of that could possible have such an impact on the Internet would be the U.S. government. Sounds like an Orwellian novel in the making.



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