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Malware

What's the policy?

Google doesn't allow the promotion of sites infected with malware, or the sale of malicious software.

In some cases, you may be unaware that you have malware on your site. But to protect the safety and security of our users, we stop all ads pointing to sites where we find malware. See how to fix malware problems below.

Allowed Not allowed
  • Sites that are free of malware
  • Sites that sell legitimate software that's free of malware
  • Sites infected with malware
  • Sites that install malware on a visitor's computer
  • Sites that incorporate content (images, Flash, iframes, etc.) from infected sites
  • Sites that redirect to domains containing malware

Why malware is dangerous

The term malware, short for "malicious software," refers to any software specifically designed to harm a computer or the software it's running. Malware can steal sensitive information (like credit card numbers or passwords) or even send fake emails from a user's email account, often without the user's knowledge. Malware includes, but isn't limited to, viruses, worms, spyware, and Trojan horses.

How sites can get infected

It's possible that you may not even be aware that your site is carrying or spreading malware to users accessing your site. Here are some examples of how or when a site can pick up malware:

  • when you download templates to use for your site
  • when you install code for various applications on your site
  • if your plugins or content management system has known security vulnerabilities
  • if your site was hacked and infected with harmful code
  • if your site uses binaries, which we consider to be malware

Common symptoms of malware on your site can include unwanted URL redirects, pop-up ads, altered Google search results, the addition of unwanted browser toolbars or side-search bars, and slow computer speeds.

What can I do if my site gets suspended for malware?

Follow the steps below to check your computer for malware, remove all malicious code from your site, and submit your site and ads for review.

Step 1: Check the status of your site in Google's Search Console site.

  1. Visit google.com/webmasters and sign in.
  2. If you're new to Search Console, enter your website into the field and click Add a site. Note that you might be asked to verify that you own that site.
  3. Look at the status displayed for that site to see what issues were found.

Step 2: Click the appropriate scenario below to see detailed next steps.

Search Console does find malware on your site
Here's an overview of the steps you'll need to take:
  1. Quarantine your site
  2. Assess the damage
  3. Clean up your site
  4. Ask Google to review your site
Follow these instructions and we'll walk you through each step. Please make sure that your primary domain, all sub-domains, and all verified site redirects are cleared of malware.

If you're not able to complete some of the technical steps yourself, please contact your web hosting provider or visit stopbadware.org for more information.

Once you're sure your site is free from any infected code and content, just request a review and our automated system will review your site within 24 hours. If the scan comes back clean, we'll review the case and let you know if your ads can start running again.

Search Console does not find malware on your site
Even if Search Console does not identify any issues, it's still possible that your site has security issues detected by the AdWords systems. Check with your webmaster or web hosting provider to see if they can identify the problem. You may also want to visit stopbadware.org for more information. If you still need help, please contact us and we'll be happy to help. 

What happens if you violate our policies

Ad or extension disapproval: Ads and extensions that don't follow this policy may be disapproved. A disapproved ad won't run until the policy violation is fixed and the ad is approved.

Site suspension: We may suspend websites that violate our policies, meaning that the website can no longer be advertised until the problem is fixed.

Account suspension: An account may be suspended if you have several violations or a serious violation. If this happens, all ads in the suspended account will stop running, and we may no longer accept advertising from you. Any related accounts may also be permanently suspended and your new accounts may be automatically suspended at setup. Learn more about suspended accounts.

Additional information

Does Google have any programs to detect and remove malware?

Although Google doesn't provide programs to remove malware, we do offer Google Safe Browsing for both Chrome and Firefox users. Safe Browsing is a service provided by Google that enables applications to check URLs against Google's constantly updated lists of suspected phishing and malware pages. Additionally, we've listed some well-known external programs below. Google has no connection with these companies and can't comment on their effectiveness, but we recommend always using the latest version of any such programs. Also keep in mind that these programs might not be available in all languages or locations.

If these programs don't resolve the problem, you might want to try an advanced troubleshooting program such as HijackThis.

How can I file a complaint with a government agency about malware?

In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices, including malware distributed by sites hosted in the U.S. To file a complaint, visit https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/.

To file a complaint outside the U.S., visit http://www.econsumer.gov/, a site representing the consumer protection agencies of 21 countries.

Contact information

If you still have questions about this policy, you can contact us via the link below. You'll be taken to a form where you can write to us about your issue.
Contact AdWords Support

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