How Bing’s clampdown on malware and phishing aims to improve internet security
Browser Beware: Bing aims to make web browsing safer by warning its users of websites that carry, or link to phishing and malware sources. Image by Matrioshka (via Shutterstock).
Microsoft’s Bing search engine is set to protect its users from entering insecure websites. The search engine, second to Google in global market share, aims to do this by notifying users of any unsafe websites.
Though Bing’s idea is far from original, it aims to improve on existing practices. A malware warning on some search engines (and Bing’s previous attempt) would return a generic “this site could harm your computer” warning. Bing’s latest approach will be more specific. There will more detailed warnings as to why Site X carries malware. Or as to why Site Z will phish your bank account before you could remember your PIN number.
How Bing shall notify its end users
When you load Internet Explorer or Edge, your default search engine is Bing. You could be searching for something fairly run-of-the-mill like the football results, or a new sofa. Then you find your local furniture store’s website carries this warning:
“Site might lead you to malicious software that can harm your computer”
If you know the company and shopped with them beforehand, do you take your business elsewhere to avoid phishing? Do you contact them through alternative means? Or do you chance a visit to their website no matter what?
Bing would recommend the first option, though you could always take the second option if the business has a telephone number or email address. If you take the third option (based on the assumption the search engine could have been wrong), tread carefully.
How Bing shall notify its webmasters
Microsoft’s Bing will go into greater detail by displaying the links that need to be removed. These will be displayed on the search engine’s Webmaster Dashboard. Once s/he removes the links, the warning is removed from the site’s search engine results.
What if some of the websites have been wrongly flagged?
According to Bing’s Program Manager, Chad Foster, “sites with warnings are not always bad actors.” If you are a webmaster, you can appeal against their decision through Bing’s Webmaster Dashboard. Through their Webmaster Help section, you can find out how to get their decision reviewed.
Within the Malware Tool (once logged into Bing Webmaster Tools), click on the Request a Review button.
Bing’s approach aims to make for a more user-friendly approach to detecting malware and phishing. Not only for webmasters but also regular users finding new settees, or favourable odds on a giant-killing act by Gala Fairydean. We think this is a welcome step and further proof that Microsoft aims to enhance users’ experience of the world’s second favourite search engine.