Google Releases Transparency Report on Safe Browsing Data

Most warnings emanating from the Google Safe Browsing program are triggered by malware rather than phishing sites, a new Google Transparency Report says.

Google divulged new statistics today about its Safe Browsing program, a service it uses to flag websites it suspects of peddling malware and phishing. According to the numbers, most of the “unsafe website” warnings it pushes to users on Google Search and in browsers, stem from malware and not phishing.

The information comes as part of a new section in its ongoing Transparency Report project, a series of data-culling reports the search giant has been updating more frequently over the past several months.

In this version of the report, Google breaks down the number Safe Browsing warnings users see when malicious sites are hosted across the globe and how prone websites are to re-infection after malware has been discovered on its servers.

The number of users who see a browser warning largely fluctuates. The best stretch came earlier this year when from March 10-16 when nine million Google users saw warnings. The worst came last week , when about 88 million users saw warnings about websites that were trying to steal their personal information and install malware on their machines. On average, this translates to about 100 million Google search results per week that contain a warning about a threat, malware or otherwise, that are pushed to users.

While the number of phishing sites have increased, the largest chunk of the unsafe websites Google has monitored over the years have been pushing malware. Google notes that the Blackhole exploit kit and Gumblar are responsible for key malware shifts in its “Unsafe websites” notes section.


One billion people use the Safe Browsing service, which started in 2006; Google claims the service flags up to 10,000 sites a day.

Google asserts that the project and sharing information about malware and phishing fits alongside previous disclosures such as government requests to remove content and requests for user data, it has received.

“Sharing this information also aligns well with our Transparency Report, which already gives information about government requests for user data, government requests to remove content, and current disruptions to our services,” Lucas Ballard, a software engineer with Google wrote on the Google blog today.

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