Microsoft offers Bing malware site re-evaluation tool

Web masters will now be able to ask Microsoft to re-evaluate sites labeled on its Bing search engine as malware threats, but if malware is found during the re-scan the warning could persist for a long time.

Web masters who have signed up to Bing’s Webmasters Tools can opt to receive an alert from Bing when the search engine has detected that malware is being hosted on the site.

Bing already scans the Web for infected Web pages and flags when a site, or its elements, pose a malware threat to users. Bing will present links to the dangerous page but places a caution next to the listing and disable clicking on the link.

The new re-evaluation process gives web masters a chance to have the malware alert removed, but web masters need to be certain no threats remain.

“If the malware is found during the review period, the re-evaluation will fail and you will not be able to submit another re-evaluation request for some time,” it notes without specifying the time between second re-evaluations.

Microsoft will provide Web masters with a list of “sample URLs” detected as containing harmful elements and a more detailed description of the threat than it previously offered, however, it will ultimately be up to the Web master to ensure Microsoft does not find malware during the re-evaluation process.

Microsoft will not provide information about vulnerabilities that could have allowed an exploit to appear on a website in the first place, and warns that these should be plugged before requesting a re-evaluation. If Microsoft is asked to review a malware site, it will perform “several deep re-scans” that go beyond the sample URLs provided.

Microsoft’s assessment includes any malware hosted on the website itself, as well as “malware references” found on a suspect page, such as a malicious iframe or a JavaScript that redirects visitors to a malicious page.

The reports will include details about seven types of issues, including: browser exploits, malicious JavaScript, malicious ActiveX, “heapspray” exploits against browsers, malware network references, malware found on adjacent pages and malware reported by external sources.

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