Identifying and fixing security issues with the Search Console

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The Youtube lessons to learn how to optimally use the webmaster tools of the Google Search Console now lead us to address today a very delicate issue, the one about security. The episode focuses on the use of the Security Issues Report, which informs and alerts on dangerous and malevolent behavior on our sites.

Given the topic, the usual host of the Search Console Training series, the Google Search Advocate Daniel Waisberg, is flanked by a colleague of the Trust & Safety Policy division, Aurora Morales: the two googlers guide us to discover how to receive warnings about harmful reports on our site and the actions to take for these security problems.

What is the Security issues Report

The Google Search Console Security Issues Report is a tool able to launch an alert whenever Google finds out that your site has been hacked or shows a potentially harmful behavior for visitors or their devices.

Examples of impairment

These malicious behaviors include phishing attacks or the installation of malware or unwanted software on devices that users use for their connections. Morales focuses on the various types of security problems, explaining which are the three main types:

  1. Hacked content.

These are content placed within the site without our permission due to security vulnerabilities. For instance, a hacker could inject malicious code into pages to redirect our users to another site or to automatically create pages on the site with meaningless sentences stuffed with keywords.

  1. Malware and software

It is the installation of a software designed to harm a device or its users, responsible for deceptive, unexpected practices, adversely affecting the user.

  1. Social engineering.

This includes contents generated by cybercriminals who mislead visitors into doing something dangerous, such as revealing confidential information or a downloading malicious software.

The list of security issues for sites

It is Aurora Morales who explains in detail which are the different types of violations and hacks and the reasons why hackers try to take control of a site. First of all, she dwells on pointing out that many of these problems occur due to the use of an outdated software or a bad management of access credentials to the site resources, which leave “open doors” to malicious people.

Hackers typically search for technical signals to find out and assess whether a website is well protected or not, and when they notice that a site runs an outdated version of a software they may take advantage of it to exploit an unknown vulnerability