Google has taken down web pages which security researchers believe are manipulating the search engine to aid in malware attacks.
McAfee senior threat researcher Craig Schmugar reported that by late Friday evening US time the company had recorded a major drop-off in the number of malicious web pages which were showing up in queries of popular search terms on Google Trends.
Last week, Schmugar said that malware writers appeared to be searching the trends site for the most popular Google search terms, then specially crafting the text on their malicious web pages to rank highly when users searched for those specific terms.
As a result, many of the most popular search queries on Google were leading to pages which put users at risk for malware infection.
By early Saturday morning, however, the number of infected search returns had all but disappeared.
"It appears that Google may have squashed those attacks, at least at the moment," Schmugar wrote in a follow-up.
"The pages that were coming up while searching Google seem to be purged from Google’s index."
A company spokesperson confirmed to vnunet.com that the offending pages had indeed been removed from the search engine's index.
"Many of these results have been removed from our index. However, this issue affects more than just Google, as these sites are still part of the general web, " the spokesperson said.
"We'll continue to monitor for these bad results and will remove any as necessary."
"Additionally, we're always exploring new ways to identify and eliminate malicious sites from our index."