Google goes after ‘repeat offenders’ as part of new safe browsing initiative

As part of its guidelines on malware, phishing and social engineering, Google flags websites that have the potential to harm web users.

However, thanks to a loophole in those guidelines, malicious websites were able to continue harming users, even after getting flagged by Google. They did this by complying with the company’s safe browsing guidelines for a short time, thus lifting any warnings associated with their site, before relapsing into their harmful behaviour.

Google is closing that loophole today.

Moving forward, the company will flag such websites as “repeat offenders,” a categorization the company’s search and browser users will see anytime said websites shows up in a search result.

Google defines repeat offenders as websites that “repeatedly switch between compliant and policy-violating behaviour for the purpose of having a successful review and having warnings removed.” The company does note hacked websites will not be classified as repeat offenders.

Lastly, once a website is flagged a repeat offender, it cannot request a review for 30 days.