In the last couple of months of 2009 I quitely rolled out some improvements to Unmask Parasites. I couldn’t find enough time to blog about them since there always had been some nasty malware attack that I needed to investigate and write about here. Finally, I decided that the new year beginning is the proper time to round up some improvements and new features of the last year.
There had been dozens of improvements in the scanner. This means that more threats can be detected now. At the same time the number of false positives and errors has decreased.
It was a popular request in the Feedback forum and emails. I analyzed the usage patterns and found it reasonable to cache Unmask Parasites reports for 1 hour only (instead of 2 hours). Of course, impatient users can try obvious tricks to avoid caching altogether …
Unmask Parasites always reported why it considered some page as suspicious so that webmasters could easily decide whether the highlighted problem should be investigated or discarded. However, since Unmask Parasites also uses Google’s advisories (as a trusted second opinion), sometimes it was not clear (especially for new users) whether Unmask Parasites actually checked the site or just relayed Google’s data.
New messages in Unmask Parasites reports clearly differentiate between Unmask Parasites own advisories and advisories provided by Google.
I’ve written a practical guide that covers everything webmasters should know and do to remove Google’s malware warnings in the shortest possible time (usually just a few hours). This guide is based on the analysis of hundreds of real cases, dozens of Google’s blogposts, and my personal discussions with members of Google’s Anti-malware team. It contains many lesser known facts that can help avoid most common mistakes which may significantly slow down the removal process (up to several weeks).
Now, if Unmask Parasites detects that a web page is blacklisted, it provides a link to this guide to assist webmasters in resolving the issue.
Every now and then I receive requests from people who want to use Unmask Parasites in an automated way. Generally, it’s not a good idea since Unmask Parasites doesn’t provide definite answers and each report should me manually reviewed by webmasters.
However I was pointed out that in some cases Unmask Parasites automation may be justified (e.g. monitoring status changes), so I created a simple experimental API to Unmask Parasites. It consists of just one HTTP GET request that is used to find out if Unmask Parasites considers some web page suspicious or not. Information about Google’s malware warnings is included so you can also find out if the specified web pages is blacklisted by Google.
I plan to provide all the API details in one of the upcoming blogposts. At this point point, please contact me directly if you are interested in the API.
Now you can install Unmask Parasites accelerators (the install link is available to IE8 users only on the Tools page) and easily check websites and links using the context menu of your browser.
This was a short round up. There will be more detailed posts about some of the above features soon. At the same time there are some new interesting features in the works, so stay tuned.
Unmask Parasites is still in beta and I need your feedback. Let me know what you think about it. Do you miss any functionality? Constructive criticism and suggestions are welcome. If you already like Unmask Parasites and it helped you somehow, consider writing a testimonial. Thanks.