False positives – why Geeks to Go gets flagged as dangerous

warningMore and more frequently, we’ve had forum members and even staff receiving warnings from their antivirus program, from McAfee Site Advisor, or some other source of online protection that Geeks to Go is a dangerous site or contains dangerous links.  This is untrue – Geeks to Go is very safe, but we mistakenly get flagged.  This is known as a false positive.  Why does this happen?  There are a few reasons.

Many security suites and protection programs are adding website screening as part of their overall protection, and some browsers also have website blocking built-in to them.  I’ve had Firefox block sites on more than one occasion while doing research, and I’m glad when it does.  Much of the malware we encounter gets installed as a drive-by download, meaning simply visiting the wrong site can infect your computer.  Protecting against these things would seem to be a good thing.  However, these programs are often relying on heuristics to identify potentially dangerous downloads, meaning they’re looking at the characteristics of a file to try and determine if it’s dangerous.  In addition, there are many different security products available, and they all have different means to characterize potentially dangerous downloads.

Why do these companies flag Geeks to Go?  Primarily because of the many malware removal tools that are used by us.  Protection programs have been flagging many of our tools for years, but usually as an individual download.  There are certain tools for which we’ve always warned users that the download is safe, but it might get flagged due to certain processes.  Now that more companies are screening the actual downloads from websites, our tools are getting flagged more and more frequently.  Because malware changes rapidly, our tools must change also, so something that was deemed safe yesterday might be flagged today as malicious, simply due to a change in programming.

Rest assured, Geeks to Go has always been safe.  We’re on the side of the good guys, working hard to remove malware and prevent its recurrence.  We would never knowingly host or permit any kind of malicious download on our site, and work hard to get our name cleared every time we get a report of a false positive.