While Yahoo apparently doesn’t really care that there’s a chance you might get served malware through ads (aka ‘malvertising’) delivered by Right Media YieldManager, search rival Google is at least being honest about it.
For the past two years, Google has been operating an experimental service called Safe Browsing, which is basically a diagnostic tool that checks for malware on all the websites in its enormous index. And that list of websites includes Google.com, which was apparently listed for suspicious activity 2 times over the past 90 days.
This isn’t an error, like the one that occurred in January last year, when Google flagged the entire Internet as malware.
Yahoo actually served up malware too during that period, according to Google even 3 times as much. Most of the other sites I tested, including TechCrunch.com and Bing.com, showed no recent history of suspicious activity. That means the tool isn’t 100% accurate or simply doesn’t analyze every single thing that is on a Website, because we had an issue with malvertising last month, as reported by Cnet.
I’m not entirely sure, but I assume that Safe Browsing checks Google.com for pages linked to from contextual ads served when users run a search query.
Of the 190,520 pages the tool analyzed over the past 90 days, 11 apparently resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time suspicious content was found on Google.com was on March 24.
Google has recently set up a website called Anti-Malvertising.com which is entirely dedicated to educating Internet users, ad network operators and publishers about the problem.
(Hat tip to S. Gray)