Google Security Issues in 2020: How to Use Google Search Console to Protect for Your Site
The problem with online security is one of the most urgent for site owners, developers, SEO specialists, and users. In this article, we will look at how Google security search is provided and how you can monitor site security using the Google Search Control (GTS) service.
Google Site Safety and Hazards in the Web
Almost every Internet user has come across obsessive spam at least once. According to Statista, spam accounted for 53.95% of all email traffic but the good news is the decline in spam activity on the network in recent years in March 2020.
In 2012, the volume of spam was 69%, and in 2018 – 55%. In the second quarter of 2018, 85% of unsolicited marketing messages were sent to users’ mailboxes and only 7% of spam messages were intercepted by spam filters.
For more information on the types of spam and how to protect yourself from it, see the article What is SPAM and How To Protect Yourself.
Among the most serious security issues are cybercrimes and website hacking. In 51% of cases, hacking is carried out in order to gain free access to training programs, professional services, and technologies, according to Statista. Cyber fraud is also actively engaged in by criminals who inspire the trust of citizens in order to take possession of their funds or personal information and characters who create romantic scams: in 2019, the victims of those and others around the world lost more than $475 million.
Hacking sites are actively practiced by those who are engaged in Black Hat SEO. In their arsenal, there is a fairly wide range of techniques by which they bypass the rules and requirements of Google to solve their problems. These can sometimes openly violate the law. For more information on Black Hat SEO, see White Hat VS Grey Hat VS Black Hat SEO: Differences and What to Choose?
Another group of people who like to disrupt other people’s cyberspace and cause harm are specialists in the unethical practice of Negative SEO. For more on what it is and how to protect yourself, your website, and your business, read How to Protect Your Website from Negative SEO in 2020.
In order to protect the resource from Google security problems, and resolve emerging Google security issues before they cause harm, you should use special tools, including Google Search Console.
What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console (GSC) is a free Google service with which webmasters can check the indexing of a site, improve its visibility for search engines, etc. As a result, you can optimize the ranking of the site and its presence in the SERP and solve other SEO tasks.
Using this tool, you can ensure the effective operation of the site, as well as monitor its statistics. In this article, we will see how to use GSK to find and fix security issues.
In order to start using GSC, you need to have a Google account. After that, you need to register and confirm that you really are the owner of the site.
It may take several days, but you will eventually receive a notification from Google that you have passed registration and can start working with the service. For details on how to work with GSC, see our tutorial What is Google Search Console, and How is This Tool Used?
What is Security Issues on GSC
You can learn more about Google security principles on the Google security site. There is also information for Webmasters, Developers, and Network Admins:
Here’s what the security issues are related to:
- Malware: dangerous software or mobile application that can damage your computer, mobile device, or software. This includes viruses that allow access to users’ personal data.
- Unwanted software: It carries false information that prompts the user to install the program.It can also accompany the installation of another program that the user is not aware of. Like malware, it can collect and transmit personal information and can often be difficult to get rid of.
- Social Engineering: This is content created with the aim of manipulating the user’s actions in order to force them to commit rash and dangerous acts. Transferring your data, opening information about access to passwords, credit cards, making a purchase, and installing programs are all examples.
Google Safe Browsing
It is also common for hackers to use the cloaking technique. This is prohibited by Google and can lead to falling under the sanctions of the search engine. Its essence is that the user and search engines see different pages and content. Ex-Head of the Webspam Team at Google, Matt Cutts, explains cloaking in this video:
How to Use GSC to Find and Fix Security Issues
Google recently released a video where Search Advocate in Google, Daniel Waisberg, and Trust & Safety Policy Education Strategist, Aurora Morales, described how to work with the Google security report functionality of the GSC service:
Google security news shows the changes in the security issues report, so let’s see what news should be provided for the protection of sites and users.
- After the system detects signs of danger such as site hacking, the presence of malicious software, etc., the following mark may appear on the issue page under the link to a suspicious resource:
This type of warning has not changed; in 2013, similar messages appeared next to dangerous links:
- In other cases, when downloading files from a potentially dangerous site, the browser may display the following warning:
This informs users that the site can harm their computer or software by provoking dangerous behavior. In 2013, the message looked like this and was accompanied by a slightly different text:
- The next step is a notification from Google. You will receive an email from Google about a security issue. Google experts strongly recommend that you carefully and regularly check your mail so as not to miss this important letter. Start solving the problem as soon as possible. An example of an email from Google sent in 2013:
- In addition to checking mail, Google experts advise you to regularly check your GSC account in order to timely see issues detected by the system. In this example, you can notice 5 problems:
1. After opening the issue report, you will see all the security issues found on the site:
2. By going to the panel with messages, you will see all the notifications that were sent to the site earlier:
So you will get contacts and access to information about who contacted the resource lately.
To solve the problem, Google experts advise you to take the following steps:
1. Open and study information on each of the issues:
From this data, you can” find a fix “and begin to understand what happened.
After opening the “learn more” link, the following information becomes available:
If you do not have enough experience to analyze it, you should find a specialist with sufficient knowledge in the field of web development and accurately diagnose the problem. You can also consult the forums and communities of web developers.
- In some cases, you will not find the address when disclosing the issue information:
If this happens, Daniel Waisberg recommends fixing all errors that were found in the report. To do this, use the function of the Request Review button:
Make sure that all issues were fixed:
According to Daniel Waisberg, a good search should have three points:
- Clearly explains the nature of the problem that occurred on the site.
- Describes the steps to solve it.
- Provides documents confirming the result of the work.
It usually takes several days to process the request and get the result, but sometimes the process can take a week or two. When the search result is ready, you will receive a notification from GSK.
According to Daniel Waisberg, in cases where you do not see the URL of the site, it is likely that you have encountered cloaking. Cleaning a website from cloaking is a little more difficult due to its property of showing different content to users and search engines.
In this video, Daniel Waisberg and Aurora Morales go into more detail on hacking cloaking:
How to Report Security Issues to Google?
To be sure in Google safe browsing – report anything to them in case you see suspicious web sites or mobile pages and applications. Google encourages all users to report strange things found on the network such as cases of spam, suspicions of Social Engineering, manipulation attempts, or other actions that violate Google’s policies.
To do this, you need to go to the Google Safe Browsing page and fill out the form indicated there:
Google Safe Browsing
In order to stay safe online and keep a good reputation and image of the site, it is worth paying attention to preventing the possibility of hacking, hacker attacks, and cybercrimes.
It’s simple if you use the capabilities of the GSC tool and other SEO services correctly. Regularly carry out preventive checks and promptly respond to the slightest signs of a hack. No one is immune to hackers or cybercriminals. However, if you take action in time, you can minimize this risk and ensure yourself a comfortable and safe stay in the digital world.