Google glitch causes confusion

An example of Human Error was just witnessed and was from none other than the big brother Google!

Well, on Jan 31, 2009, every Google search performed resulted in links to sites which were, according to Google, potentially harmful to your computer. As it turns out, Google’s malware detection system got a glitch due to a human error.


Why did the malware glitch happen?

Google’s malware detector works via a partnership with the non-profit organisation, who aid Google by supplying them with a list of sites known to install malware. Google updates these lists regularly, to prevent malware. but sadly, the URL “/” got accidentally added to the list- effectively blacklisting every site on the internet (except YouTube, actually).

An excerpt from Google Official Blog:
“Unfortunately (and here’s the human error), the URL of ’/’ was mistakenly checked in as a value to the file and ’/’ expands to all URLs. Fortunately, our on-call site reliability team found the problem quickly and reverted the file. Since we push these updates in a staggered and rolling fashion, the errors began appearing between 6:27 a.m. and 6:40 a.m. and began disappearing between 7:10 and 7:25 a.m., [all time sin PST] so the duration of the problem for any particular user was approximately 40 minutes.”

The error was quickly fixed by Google, and the company has promised to review their policies regarding the malware detector blacklists, and assures us it won’t happen again.Sure, Google will come up with better human error management system after all, who will survive without Google services?

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