Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Badware: Google may face lawsuit in Nigeria

Cover of the week:

Some Nigerian firms may have concluded plans to engage two United States-based Internet entities, Google and in a lawsuit for classifying their websites as badware or malware on the Internet.

Badware also known as Malware, is software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner’s consent. In other words, the website has been attacked.

Malware, according to Wikipedia, an online free encyclopaedia is “a portmanteau of the words malicious and software. The expression is a general term used by computer professionals to mean a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software or programme code.”

It was gathered that has classified some Nigerian websites as badware based on Google’s advisory.

A websearch on StopBadware database confirmed that some Nigerian websites (names withheld) have been reported as badware by Google and would be reviewed on request and when declassified by Google they would automatically be removed from its archive of

Champion Infotel investigations revealed that on attempts to access some of the websites, through Google search engine, visitors are confronted with a warning, which read thus:

“Visiting this web site may harm your computer! You can learn more about harmful web content and how to protect your computer at,” the statement warned.

Although other Internet search engines could still be used to locate websites reportedly blocked by Google and archived by

Also, offer some immediate suggestions to include a return to the previous page and picking of another result or try another search to “find what you’re looking for.”

StopBadware added that Internet users could continue at the already designated ‘badware’ site at their own risk.

“Or you can continue to http://www.???/ at your own risk,” the organisation warns.

In addition, it directed that if the user is the owner of the blacklisted website, “you can request a review of your site using Google’s Webmasters Tools” just as the advisory was provided by Google.

Attempts to engage the Webmasters Tools required that our correspondent signs up for the tools, requesting to know a little more about the inquirer.

“Please enter the additional information below. If you want to use the Google Webmaster Tools service as part of a separate Google Account, click here. (Note: you can only be logged into one Google Account at a time). Get started with Google Webmaster Tools.”

At the home page of, an assumed help option was offered with a column at the right-hand side flagged by Google, asking concerned Internet users to click a link if they would like the organisation to review the inclusion of their website in the Badware website Clearinghouse with options of “Request for Review form, StopBadware Manifesto, and Guidelines.”

As at the time of filing this report last weekend, an estimated 260732 Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) which are website addresses have been allegedly reported to by its partners and hence classified as badware awaiting clearance at its clearinghouse. identifies itself as a “Neighbourhood Watch” campaign aimed at fighting badware.

Equally it was gathered that Google uses its own testing procedures, and is sole decider for initial decisions to post a warning page for a website and does not rely on any testing or reports from StopBadware in making these initial decisions.

“However, StopBadware has the ability to review Google’s decisions, and you may request that we engage in a review by filling out a Request for Review. Working with our partners at Google, we respond to each request for review as quickly as is reasonably possible. Please note that this web form is the only way to contact StopBadware about a request for review,” StopBadware stated in its website.

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