Updated Google and its Youtube domains are being flagged as malicious by Malwarebytes as of Wednesday morning, blocking users from accessing a whole range of websites.
We had assumed this was an error and not a protest by the antivirus maker against Big Tech nor a sign that Google has been compromised. Indeed, it is a blunder by Malwarebytes' filters, we're told.
"Malwarebytes is aware of a temporary issue with the web filtering component of our product that may be blocking certain domains, including google.com," a Malwarebytes spokesperson told The Register.
"We are actively working on a fix."
Because these netizens couldn't turn to the web search giant to Google why they suddenly couldn't use Google, many turned to Twitter for answers on whether Google was hacked, or the issue was a Malwarebytes false positive:
According to Malwarebytes, Google and Youtube seem to have malware messing them up. Is anyone else having this issue? pic.twitter.com/Ho1Frr9Maj— Glitched Izzy (@Exploceebo) September 21, 2022
Blocked sites include all of the G Suite services such as Google Docs and Gmail, widely used among businesses — which, we have to admit, makes for a pretty legit get-out-of-work excuse — and Chromium-based browsers including Microsoft Edge are also unable to function properly.
At least one of The Register's own vultures was hit by this issue and locked out of email and all other Google services.
According to at least one user, Google's ReCaptcha widget is also blocked on any website if Malwarebytes is also installed. One techie offered this suggestion as a possible workaround:
Temporarily add Firefox to your Malwarebytes Exclusion List. It is important to note that there is no official response from Malwarebytes if it is a true hack or employee/software mistake. I wouldn't add Brave or Edge since they both use Chromium.
Google did not immediately respond to The Register's inquiries. Your vultures will keep circling and update this story as we receive more details.
- ChromeLoader, what took you so long? Malvertising irritant now slings ransomware
- Firefox 105 is here, and it's faster and more memory-frugal
In the meantime, enjoy the tweets:
Hey @Malwarebytes, what's going on buddy? Was Google being mean again? 😂— Kevin Baktiar (@afterafx) September 21, 2022
Or perhaps take advantage of the temporary work setback and enjoy an afternoon walk. ®
Updated to add
"The issue is now resolved, and the update should happen automatically," the antivirus biz declared after this story was published. We've been able to confirm that is true.
"If you are still experiencing issues, please ensure the Malwarebytes client is updated to the latest version."
This is unfortunate timing as Malwarebytes has just picked up $100m in funding from private equity firm Vector Capital, which will take a minority stake, just weeks after the software house axed 15 percent of its staff, or 125 people.
A spokesperson for Malwarebytes offered this as an explanation for today's screw-up:
This morning, during a routine database update, an error was introduced into the web filtering database which caused various domains to be inadvertently blocked. Upon learning of the issue, Malwarebytes worked rapidly to resolve the issue and released a database update.
Malwarebytes is continuing to perform exhaustive analysis of our process to ensure this type of issue does not affect our customers again.