An update from StopBadware on the review process

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Erica George

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Apr 5, 2007, 3:07:35 PM4/5/07
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Hi everyone,

I just want to give you all a quick update on what the StopBadware
staff has been up to. Over the past six weeks, we've been working
intensively on revamping the request for review (aka appeals) process
for Google's warnings. We've now built a newer, more robust database
to deal with the increasing load of websites requesting review, and
finished integrating our core processes with the database.

New and different systems introduced in the past six weeks range from
the request for review web form, which feeds directly into our
database and speeds our ability to start working on new reviews, to
automating processes that previously took significant chunks of staff
time. We're still working on increasing our capacity to process
reviews, so that we'll be able to handle additional future increases -
we went from receiving fewer than 20 requests for review per week in
December, to fully processing more than 100 reviews per day in March
and April.

We're working with Google to ensure that our role in their warnings
process is smoothly integrated. We're also discussing other changes
and improvements, including many that have first been raised here on
this list. I know that we haven't been able to implement new
procedures as fast as folks here would prefer, but please know that
every suggestion made here is given due consideration, and in many
cases does contribute to changes in process.

Because of everything we've been able to automate, I'm happy to say
that I am now able to go back to working with our community full-time.
What this means is that I can be much more active on this list again,
and that as a whole StopBadware can again be more responsive to
individual questions and concerns. I'll be going back through some of
the recent posts to this list that I haven't had the chance to reply
to individually, and doing my best to address questions that are
raised. Please feel free to contact me directly as well, at egeorge @
cyber.law.harvard.edu.

As many webmasters on this list can attest, the malicious actors who
create and disseminate badware seem to have changed tactics in the
past few months, from using affiliated websites to spread deceptively
packaged downloads, to hacking into thousands of innocent but poorly
secured sites with hidden "driveby downloads" - badware like trojans
and keyloggers. We're looking into ways to help raise awareness of
this problem among all webmasters, to encourage everyone with a
website to do everything they can to secure it before it can be
hacked. We're also hoping to focus more on the criminals behind
badware, from those who create it, to those who benefit financially
from badware-driven ads or personal financial information stolen from
computers infected with badware.

I'd like to thank everyone on this list for being part of this
community. Every website owner who shares their story helps us learn
not only what we or Google can improve on, but what kinds of problems
webmasters are facing in dealing with badware. Every technically
knowledgeable list member who helps a site owner discover the badware
on their site is helping reveal what techniques hackers are using, as
well as helping clean an individual website. Everyone here who has
contributed an idea, or a critique, or taken the time to tell someone
else about the badware problem, is helping make the net a little bit
safer. Thank you!

Erica
StopBadware staff

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