Malwarebytes Labels Google As Malware

John Lister's picture

A popular malware-fighting tool left users unable to access Google and YouTube after a blunder. It's the second time Google has been hit by false positives in the past few weeks.

This problem affected Malwarebytes, one of the more popular security tools other than those built in to operating systems. Specifically, the problem was with the premium version of Malwarebytes that integrates with web browsers, checks links the user might visit, and blocks the link if it points to a domain believed to pose a security risk.

Such risks can include look-alike sites used for phishing scams to try to trick users into typing in login details for a legitimate sight. Other risks include links that attempt to download malware, exploit browser bugs, or try to access data either on the computer or in other browser tags. Labeled Bad

The problem this time was that the entire domain name was mistakenly labeled as malware. That means users were blocked from accessing not just the Google search tool itself but also YouTube and many Google office tools such as Gmail and Docs. In some cases it also affected sites that housed Google-managed advertising. (Source:

Although users could bypass the block, that was only possible by manually adding it to an exclusion list. Many users will have been wary about doing so when they didn't know how legitimate the supposed malware threat was, particularly as they couldn't simply search Google to find out more.

Malwarebytes said it was "of a temporary issue with the web filtering component of our product that may be blocking certain domains, including We are actively working on a fix." (Source:

Database Error

That's now happened and the problem should have been removed by an update to Malwarebytes. The company explained:

"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."

The issue comes just weeks after Windows Defender, a built-in security tool in Windows, mistakenly blocked Google Chrome from opening, wrongly labeling it a security risk.

What's Your Opinion?

Did you experience this problem? Are you surprised such mistakes happen? Do we put too much trust into security tools?

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olds97_lss's picture

I'd rather have it and be blocked with the ability to turn it off vs ending up redirected to a site that should be blocked and end up with malware. Sure, it was annoying for about 2 minutes until I shut it off for specific domains, then when they fixed it, I removed those customization's.

Chief's picture

Olds97, I like your comment that sure, it's annoying for all of 2 minutes.
That's exactly it.
Some people seem to not be happy unless they can complain about something which may/may not only affect them for a short while.

Reminds me of a story my buddy told me years ago when he worked in a diesel pump and injectors shop.

This fellow comes in with destroyed injectors and trashed pump due to him putting contaminated diesel in his tank.

Pump is rebuilt; reinstalled; new injectors, and a new water/fuel separater filter is also installed to safeguard the new pieces. System is purged with fresh diesel.

A few weeks later, the guy is back complaining the new filtration system is constantly plugging up!