Google has announced it will now label websites that it continuously flags for displaying unsafe or malicious content as "repeat offenders."
For more than a decade, Google has worked to protect users with the help of Safe Browsing. It's a feature that examines billions of URLs on a daily basis in search of unsafe web resources.
Safe Browsing looks for sites that host malicious executables available for download and/or social engineering
content, for example. It also scours the web for unwanted software offerings like programs that are deceptive and are difficult to remove.
Whenever Safe Browsing comes across a site that violates its malware
, unwanted software
, and/or social engineering
policies, Google displays a message warning users to stay away. That message stays up until Google has verified the webmaster has removed the harmful content.
Not all webmasters are honest, however. Some remove the harmful content just to have the warning removed, at which point in time they reinstate the unsafe web resources. Such behavior has led Safe Browsing to flag those websites on multiple occasions. But the punishment has mainly stopped there.
On 8 November, Brooke Heinichen of Google's Safe Browsing Team made the following announcement:
"...[W]e have adjusted our policies to reduce risks borne by end-users. Starting today, Safe Browsing will begin to classify these types of sites as 'Repeat Offenders.'"
If a website receives that classification, Google will now display warnings to users for 30 days. The affected webmasters won't be allowed to make a request during that time period. That will be the case even if the webmasters remove the unsafe content.
Once the 30 days have elapsed, a webmaster can then submit a request to Google for a review.
This policy change represents the tech giant's latest effort to help protect users online. As Heinichen
"We continuously update our policies and practices to address evolving threats. This is yet another change to help protect users from harm online."
The measure comes just a few months after Google announced
it will stop displaying ads that use Adobe Flash on websites beginning in January 2017.