This site ahead contains harmful programs – What is it? – Google Chrome




This site ahead contains harmful programs – Google Chrome warns their users when a web page contains or tricks the user into downloading dangerous code, dangerous adware application, and potentially unwanted programs. The “This site ahead contains harmful programs” indicated the web page is flagged as dangerous and you should better not visit it. 

Internet web pages that trigger the security error: This site ahead contains harmful programs are known to offer their visitors software or application that will harm the Chrome browser. These applications that harm Google Chrome are known as adware. However, the This site ahead contains harmful programs warning is shown if the web page is known for (according to Google):

  • Misleading web pages; these are web pages that are suspected or known for phishing attacks using browser redirects or pop-up advertisements.
  • Web pages that inject and load dangerous scripts from malicious sources. These web pages are not secure and Google decides to block these pages and warn the user.
  • Internet web pages that offer many free downloads or free services that include malicious applications. These applications, known as adware, potentially unwanted programs or browser extensions that may cause harm to Chrome.

this site ahead contains harmful programs

These internet web pages Chrome warns the user for with the warning “This site ahead contains harmful programs” offer pay per install applications for revenue. Most likely these web pages are “free downloads” web pages. These internet web pages offer free downloads such as the VLC Media Player, Flash Player or KMSpico downloads and bundle the applications with adware applications.

The web page publisher earns revenue for every download and adware installation through their free software download web page. Many companies offer free download web pages these pay per install revenue services. A few of these companies include installcore, amonetize,  downloadcrew, iwin, air installer, optimum, betterinstaller, adknowledge. These are legit company’s.

However, the applications that are deployed using their pay per install application are often malware or potentially unwanted.

What does Google Chrome classify as a harmful program?

Pay Per Install applications are indicated as a harmful program and may cause the Chrome Security error: This site ahead contains harmful programs. In short, let’s see how these Pay Pay Install, adware or potentially unwanted programs deceive users. Chrome’s doesn’t trigger the warning for fun, right? No, they don’t.

This site ahead contains harmful programs - pay per install download managerThis is a Pay Per Install application many users on the internet download from web pages they shouldn’t have, and where Google Chrome warns them for.

In the main window, you see a big blue Install button. When the user clicks this Install button you’ll agree to a bunch of additional applications.

The Pay Per Install application does show a “By installing this product you agree to our agreement”. This agreement shows the additional applications that are installed. However, who reads this agreement?

So in order to prevent these additional adware applications, the user should have selected the “Customize” button. Doing so expands a list of additional applications that you would have agreed to if you had selected the Install or Next button.

Summary: If the user clicks Install or Next, you are infected with adware applications. In this example, Shutdowntime and OnlineApp.

Since many users do not read the very small agreement links and click Install or Next. Google has classified these Pay Per Install download manager as harmful. This basically means many web pages that provide downloads to this kind of Pay Per Install applications are flagged as “This site ahead contains harmful programs”. Which is good.

We wrote an article where the user gets an insight how Pay Per Install applications deploy malware like techniques to prevent detection by malware analysis or publishers that install their own Pay Per Install software many times for revenue.

What does Google Chrome indicate as a web page that injects and load dangerous scripts from malicious sources?

Internet Web pages that use iframe code e.g. loading a webpage, in another page, or deploy javascript code that triggers pop-ups when a page is visited are dangerous. The code might redirect the browser to social engineering scam web pages, a few examples are Update your Flash Player, Microsoft Support Scam or Your Mac Might be Infected scam web pages.

Web pages that have these dangerous redirect javascript code in their web page are flagged by Google as dangerous.

What is a misleading web page according to Google?

Phishing is misleading. Phishing is web pages created and set up to deceive users into giving the login credentials or personal information. Compromised web pages or advertisement networks are abused with programming code that directs to phishing web pages. Read here for more about Phishing and malvertising.

Summary

Google Chrome flags web pages with a warning “This site ahead contains harmful programs” if the web page offers dangerous applications, injects dangerous programming code or redirects to phishing or malvertising code.

If your website is flagged as This site ahead contains harmful programs. Scan your web pages with sucuri, wordfence for wordpress or sitelock. Make sure your web page is clean and contact google through their forums your web page is clean. Google will review your web page and might remove the warning.


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Article published on — by Max Reisler

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