How to Remove Google's "Deceptive Site Ahead" Warning Message (Video & Review Template Included)

Article Summary

You probably had a mini-heart attack when you saw a scary-looking red screen with the phrase "Deceptive Site Ahead" next to your website. And perhaps even then, you've been working to save your website from that threat. You are really in the proper location. We will attempt to address the majority of queries around the dreaded phrase "Deceptive Site Ahead" in this post. We will also assist you in getting that face-shaming message off of your website.

Everything was OK up until last night, and now your website is suddenly displaying an ugly red "Deceptive site ahead" page on Google? Actually, you're not the first person to encounter this. Your website had a lot going on behind the scenes, and Google was presenting a misleading site that warned everything was out now. We've seen that a website is compromised at least three to four weeks before Google discovers it and begins to display the misleading site warning - more on that below.

"Deceptive Site Ahead" definition

Google displays the misleading site ahead notification to alert users to a website's compromised status. If this notice appears on your website, hackers have probably already gained access to it and may be utilizing it for nefarious activities like phishing, in which they trick users into visiting bogus sites to steal their login information.

Why does your website display a misleading site ahead?

  • You have phishing pages on your website.
  • The website is infected with malware and viruses
  • According to Google, your website contains code that links to dubious domains.
  • Through your website, users' private information is sent to unsafe servers or connections.
  • Your website's code contains malware that steals credit cards.

Reasons behind Your Website's Deceptive Site Ahead Warning

As we previously covered, malware and phishing are only a couple of the reasons Google considers a website to be phony or misleading. However, it is important to note that these are not all of them. We will go into depth about the potential causes of the "Deceptive Site Ahead" notice on your website in this section.

  1. Phishing

A phishing website is a website that poses as a trustworthy source to fool unwary visitors into disclosing sensitive personal information including passwords, login credentials, and credit card numbers. Phishing, which in English is pronounced and translated as "fishing," is a sneaky method used by criminals to get personal account information. Phishing might be carried out using a variety of techniques, including:

  • Creating website pages that appear authentic to fool consumers into entering their personal information, such as credit card numbers, phone numbers, and emails

  • Installing malware or keyloggers that record your keystrokes and reveal your passwords or user names to hackers without your knowledge

  • By demonstrating a sense of urgency and requesting quick action on your part. Do you recall being warned that your bank account might be in jeopardy if you did not immediately provide your login information? Yes, that most likely is phishing.

  • To prevent falling victim to such assaults, it's critical to maintain awareness and knowledge about your general digital privacy. Here are 10 suggestions for safeguarding your online privacy in 2022.

  2. Malware

 Malicious software, sometimes known as malware, is one of the reasons Google marks a website as misleading. One of the main causes of the 'Deceptive Site Ahead' warning is malware. Malware routinely infects websites for months before being found. With these regular cyberattacks, malware is frequently added to a website:

  • Attack using cross-site scripting (XSS): When a person visits a malicious link, the link immediately downloads malicious code to their machine. Many plugins, themes, and websites are XSS-vulnerable low-hanging. Due to how many websites are susceptible to it, it is sometimes referred to as the "low-hanging fruit" of online security. When this assault is paired with other weaknesses, it may be highly dangerous. Google blacklists some websites because they are plainly misleading.

  • Attack using SQL injection: SQLi is used to create, edit, and remove records from databases. This material is the main component of the assault and is frequently referred to as a malicious payload. The database is then used to carry out malicious SQL statements when the attacker transmits this stuff. This may potentially be a factor in Google placing a website on its blacklist. Furthermore, it may be added to your website through a bug in a theme or plugin for a content management system (CMS; for example, WordPress, Magento, OpenCart, etc.). Additionally, your website could attempt to install malicious code onto a visitor's website.

  • To stop your users from being duped into visiting harmful websites, Google will display a misleading warning if it detects random pop-ups, redirecting advertisements, or malware loading ads on your website.
  • Visitors can become infected by these adverts without having to do anything. Even without clicking on it, they can become infected. It is particularly concerning because of this. Google thus displays the misleading site ahead warning in these circumstances.
  • Lack of an appropriate SSL certificate: Google adheres to very rigorous regulations. They recently made SSL essential for all websites and even made having SSL a factor in how they rank websites. If a website doesn't switch from HTTP to HTTPS, it may be classified as "deceptive." It is not sufficient to simply install an SSL certificate; you also need to switch your website from HTTP to HTTPS. In addition, Google will interpret your website's HTTP and HTTPS pages as having different types of content. This may potentially be the cause of Google flagging your website.

How to resolve the Google Chrome misleading site ahead error

The 'Deceptive Site Ahead' notice needs to be fixed in several different ways. This is because Google doesn't provide a lot of information to work with, so one must either be an expert in online security or rule out every possibility on their own. This section will go into depth on how to remove misleading website warnings.

1. You may control the search settings by adding your website to Google Search Console.

2. Go to the 'Security problems' tab in the sidebar's left column.

3. Since your site is blacklisted by Google, you will be shown some basic reasons why your website is flagged. Read the details over here, and also copy the malicious URLs which were detected

4. Take a backup of your website, just in case it needs to be restored

5. Now use an online malware scanner to scan your website remotely to see if any additional malware is detected.

6. Google and other free online malware scanners are only able to scan your site remotely. To completely fix your site and make it 100% secure, you would have to perform a server-side malware scan on your website. This will help you find all malware, and protect your site from being hacked again.

If you would like to review the code yourself, it's highly recommended you start your hunt for malware from the following files:
  • index.php file
  • core theme files
  • header & footer files
  • functions.php file (if using WordPress)
  • .htaccess
  • wp-config file (if this file is infected, the wp-config hack could be at work)
Review the files flagged by all the security scanners, and quarantine them. Get rid of redirecting, third-party Ads or Scripts.
Once you are confident that your website is 100% clean, navigate to the 'Security issues' tab in the Google Search Console, and click on the 'Request Review' button. More details about this are, in the next section.

How to Submit a Review Request To Google For Blacklist Removal

Once you have done the cleaning thoroughly. You can go ahead and submit a request to Google to remove the “Deceptive Site Ahead” message from it. But, before you submit that request make sure the following things are in place:

  • Your site is 100% clean of malware & other viruses
  • All vulnerabilities in the site are patched
  • The website is up and running
  • Your website is well protected with a firewall and malware scanning to prevent re-infections

Precautions to take before submitting a Review Request

It is very important that you submit the reconsideration request with Google ONLY AFTER you are 100% sure that your website is clean. If your sites repeatedly fail the verification process by Google, you will be classified as a Repeat Offender. In such cases, you will be unable to request additional reviews via the Search Console for a period of 30 days.

Please don’t resubmit your request before you get a decision on any outstanding requests. Submitting a reconsideration request when the issue hasn’t been fixed can cause longer turnaround time for the next request, or even get you marked as a repeat offender.

Google Search Console Team

A server-side malware scan of all files, databases, and the server is one certain approach to ensure that your website is clear of "Deceptive material."

Steps to submit Deceptive site removal request via Google Search Console:

  • Navigate to Security Issues Tab of your Google Search Console.
  • Click on the ‘Request Review’ button.
  • Check the box, I have fixed these issues.
  • A new window will pop up, you will have to mention all the steps you have takes to remove the infection & protect the site from re-infection. Make sure you give detailed information. If you are using a firewall such as Astra, you can mention it so that Google feels more confident that your site is well protected.
  • We’ve put together a template for the message you need to send Google: Request a review template
  • You’ll now have to wait for 24-72 hours for Google to verify that your site is clean and remove the red warning message.
Is your website hacked? Drop us a message in the chat box and we will be happy to help ?

Although Google is usually correct about malware warnings, they may have inadvertently tagged your site with the “Deceptive Site Ahead” message. In such case you can submit your appeal here – Report incorrect phishing warning to Google.

Inform Google of inaccurate phishing warnings.
Your websites will be removed from the misleading category when the request has been processed, which typically takes a day.

Related Article: How to Remove a Website from Google's Blacklist After Being Blacklisted

How to fix the warning in Safari, Edge, and Chrome?

After scanning the site for malware and removing the security issues, here are the methods for different browsers to remove the warning sign.

  • Safari – To remove the 'deceptive site ahead' warning from the Safari browser, click 'Preferences' from the 'Menu' > select 'Extensions' > find the 'Deceptive Website warning' pop-up or other associated extensions that may look suspicious > click 'Uninstall' button to remove it.

  • Chrome – For Chrome browsers, open up chrome://settings into the URL bar, click on the option 'Sync and Google Services', go down and find 'Other Google services', under which there is a 'Safe Browsing' option which you can turn off.
Microsoft Edge – Clicking on the Edge 'Menu' option in the upper-right corner, from which you can select 'Extensions', locate any recently installed suspicious extensions or browser add-ons, and click 'Remove' to uninstall them. If you still have issues with 'deceptive site ahead' warnings, you can always go to the 'Settings' option under 'Menu' and click 'Restore settings to their default values'.

How To Prevent Your Website From “Deceptive Site Ahead” Warning

As you would have realized by now, removing the “Deceptive Site Ahead” warning requires some technical effort, time and patience from your end. Not to mention the effect it has on the reputation of your website and business. But, if you would take care of these little yet effective security measures, the risk factor naturally reduces. Some of these measures are:

Update your website to the latest versions

As a thumb rule, always keep your website CMS, plugins & themes up to date. With updates, you benefit from security patches & other improvements. If you are using older versions of software, your site would be on the radar of hackers who will try and exploit known vulnerabilities.

Change passwords

Once the site is compromised, there is a good chance that hackers would have stolen the passwords. After a hack situation, always change passwords of all user & admin accounts, database, cPanel, FTP passwords. The passwords should be unique and hard to guess. This will prevent hackers from re-infecting your site using the compromised credentials.

Virtually patch vulnerabilities with a firewall

Just removing the hack is not enough, as the vulnerability would still exist in your site and leave it open to being infected again.
A firewall is a continuous monitoring system that guards your website 24*7. A firewall, such as Astra protects your website against SQLi, XSS, LFI, RFI, Bad Bots, Spam & 100+ threats in real-time. Apart from OWASP's top 10 threats found in websites, the firewall also protects against known CVE's. It also detects visitor patterns on your website & automatically blocks hackers with malicious intent. Having a firewall can mean your website remains protected even when you are sleeping.

Preventing malware infection is not always straight forward as hackers hide the bad coded using sophisticated obfuscation techniques. In case you are finding it difficult to prevent the malware or other cyberattacks infecting your site – we’re here to help you!

Astra Security is tailored for CMS(s) like WordPress, Magento, PrestaShop, OpenCart, Drupal and custom PHP. Our firewall stops SQLi, XSS, bad bots, brute force attacks and 100+ other coming threats to your website. With Astra’s on-demand malware scanner you can scan your website in just a matter of minutes, on a click of a button. Further, our ever-evolving malware scanner keeps getting more and more optimized with each scan.
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