An Important Update

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If you did not use a Blogger / Google account when you Followed this blog, years ago, you are probably not Following now . During the past...

Monday, January 07, 2013

We Are At The Mercy Of Every Anti-Malware Protection Program Imaginable

We see reports, from time to time, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, about blogs which people can't read, from their computers.
One of my readers claims that I have a virus on my blog. He provided the following information:
AVG anti-virus detected the following threat on the site:
File Name: www.mydomain.com/favicon.ico

Threatname: Exploit Black Hole Exploit Kit
How do I fix this?

Similar to the many reports that we process here, about spurious spam classification, the above report is frequently determined to be a false positive. An anti-virus alert, even if a false positive, is generally not as simple to resolve as a spurious Blogger spam classification, though.

One of the frustrating problems with false malware alerts is that they come from so many different anti-malware products.

I've contributed my opinion about computers, and the suggestion that no two privately owned computers are identical, many times. One way which many computers vary is the complement of security software, which is chosen by each different computer owner.

At any time, any different anti-malware product may decide that some component of your blog is unsafe.
  • Maybe, a single file mentioned in your blog code (as above, "favicon.ico") is suspect.
  • Maybe, content hosted by "blogspot.com" is unsafe.
  • The code may be an accessory that we added, intentionally.
  • The code may be content in another blog - hosted by your blog in a bloglist, a linklist, or maybe in the Reading List on your dashboard.
In either case, you (or your reader) won't be allowed to view the blog - or may be allowed to view the blog, but given a stern warning which very few chose to accept.

Like many problems with layered security, any malware detection can come from
  • A native browser filter.
  • A filter in a browser add-on.
  • A filter installed on the computer.
  • A filter in a network appliance.

Listen to your computer. some time. Your anti-virus protection may update, automatically - and may audibly announce the update. On a typical day, I hear the Avast client on my several computers announce an update, several times - and I am not (contrary to some misconceptions) seated in front of my computer on a 24 x 7 basis.

Avast (my personally and professionally recommended choice, to many people) is only one of dozens of various anti-malware products which receives automatic updates, when the host computer is online. Any one of these products may be updated, at any time -and somebody's access to your blog (or my blog) becomes blocked.

If you get a message from one of your would be readers
I can't view your blog!
this could be someone reporting that your blog just went offline, for one reason or another - or it can be someone just discovering that the anti-malware program, on his computer, has decided that BlogSpot hosted content, or Blogger code in general, is unsafe. In either case, there is not a lot that you can do, except wait it out - and concentrate on the readers who can access your blog.

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