Google hits Sunk

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Steven L. Ken

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Google Safe Browsing, the functionality of blocking and automatic prevention of phishing attempts via the web implemented in Mozilla Firefox and in the newborn Chrome, delivery practically in the hands of Mountain View the power of life and death for website visibility against a non-negligible slice of the netizen population. That power that, as happened just in the past few hours, can inhibit access to millions of websites that share the same domain name, in the case of

As Slashdot points out, is a domain available as dynamic DNS, and anyone can get their own subdomain including the one that belongs to the top-level domain of the small oceanic nation of Niue.

There are currently over a million addresses among the subdomains of, and they have been all inexorably blocked by Google's anti-phishing system .

Popular Linux enthusiast sites such as Hostfile Ad Blocking and Berry Linux Bootable CD also stumbled upon the block. "Over the past 90 days, has acted as an intermediary for the infection of 183 sites including,,," reads the Safe Browsing diagnostic page, and as far as the domain is not “currently listed as suspicious” by Google has caught thousands of scripts, exploits and Trojans in circulation .

Be that as it may, the false positive did not last long, and now the offending domain seems perfectly achievable in all its offshoots. The discussion, however, is still furious, and there are of course those who speak of yet another sign of the fact that the keys to the Internet should not be placed in the hands of a single organization - moreover private and with the ultimate aim of grinding profits as in the case of Google.

The false positive, someone else says, is a “stupid idea” anyway, because “it shifts the responsibility for good security practices from the user to some company that manages the blacklist. What incentive is there to be suspicious of risky sites if you can count on the powerful Google that leads you by the hand as you browse the web? It's the same as when someone installs parental controls on their machine and declares their internet connection child-friendly. "

Alfonso Maruccia

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