Microsoft showed Google no love this Valentine’s Day when it mistakenly identified Google’s search engine as malicious software. A faulty security update left numerous users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer frustrated by their inability to access the globally predominant search engine.
Although the odd SEO company chuckled at Google’s misfortune, this case of mistaken identity attests to the difficulties faced daily by computer security professionals and raises serious questions about the level of trust most users place in their security software.
The fact that one of the largest technology corporations mistakenly flagged another of the largest technology corporations as malicious speaks volumes about the minefield of malware detection.
According to this ZDNet article, the false positive affected Google users in the U.S., New Zealand, Denmark, Australia, and the Middle East. For users who updated Microsoft’s Security Essentials and Forefront, Google was labelled a severe threat.
The security message supplied to users suggested that Google was infected with the Blackhole Exploit Kit – a “Swiss Army knives for launching web based attacks from compromised web pages”, according to cybersecurity experts Kapersky.
Thankfully for Google aficionados running Internet Explorer, the security fault was soon detected by Microsoft after complaints began flooding in. Moving quickly to resolve the problem, Microsoft rectified the update within a matter of hours and released a patch on the same day.
Since then, Microsoft has issued an apology “for the confusion this may have caused [its] customers”, but digital marketing professionals who planned to sell high-value products to Internet Explorer users through Google on Valentine’s Day will find little consolation in the words of the software giant.
However, this is not the first time Microsoft has mistakenly attributed malicious software to Google – according to Search Engine Watch, a similar problem occurred last September when Google’s Chrome internet browser was deleted without permission from thousands of computers.