Google Ads Disapproved for Malicious or Unwanted Software? If you are here, unfortunately your ad has been disapproved by Google Ads / AdWords.
This setback is far from ideal when launching a campaign, especially if Google’s disapproval message is more vague. The following article is meant to assist you in the best possible way so you can launch your campaign or fix your ads as so on as possible.
What is Malicious Information or malware?
Google defines malicious content/malware as follows:
“Malware is any software or mobile application specifically made to harm a personal computer, a cellular device, the software it’s running, or its own users. Malware exhibits malicious behavior that can consist of installing software without user consent and installing harmful software such as viruses.
Webmasters some times don’t realize that their downloadable files are known as malware, so that these binaries may possibly be hosted inadvertently.”
In truth, it’s pretty unlikely your landing page actually contains malware or spyware software as described above. That said, Google’s complex method of discovering malicious information or malware is entirely automated! It collects information from reputable organizations that detect malicious content material and malware and then focuses on the scan for such articles on unique geographic locations at which probably the most malware/malicious articles has been detected.
You can read about their process for malware detection here.
As from Google’s safe browsing overview, Google casts a very broad net to ensure only stable, safe, quality material is available. As the procedure is automated, mistakes do happen and”harmless” material is often caught as by-catch. Whenever your ad/page is erroneously caught by Google Ads as malicious, the only way to have Google reevaluate your ad is to associate with their Service, proceed during their suggestions to demonstrate the ad rejection was in error, and resubmit the ad for inspection. Education for fixing an ad or resubmitting the ad to Google for inspection is currently available at this link.
First thing you need to contact the Google support team and request them to send you some reference malicious link so that you can do the investigation on your website.
Most of the time Google team send every link a particular page is loading (including images and logo). Either request google again to send some specific link or investigate further on your end.
Google checking tool is detecting something malicious or suspicious that means there is at-least one of below issue:
Possible Issues but not limited to these points:
1.) Malicious advertising: You are using any script/code which is showing advertisement on website or any script that can show two different thing on same spot one two visitor open same landing page from two different location. It might be possible that your website is hacked and some potential script is hidden to server pop-ups or pop under.
2.) Poorly code or outdated script. Any poorly coded or outdate script which might compromise the security of visitor, visiting your website.
3.) A piece of code that causing a false-positive and actually not malicious. Some examples are pop-ups on landing page for subscription or fly-out in lower right or left corner or something similar activity on website.
4.) Your website have some download with some file extension or software that is flagged by some browser as malicious.
5.) Your website is flagged by any antivirus software database. Most antivirus companies have online database for malicious websites or website lacking basic security.
6.) This issue might also be a result of using some nulled plugin/theme from unknown source. It is also possible that you are using some outdated plugin/theme and some hacker try to exploit the vulnerability of that plugin/theme.
7.) You are using any WordPress plugin(s) or script code that is deemed malicious by Google.
8.) Custom scripts added to the landing page are referencing external content deemed malicious by Google.
Most of the time these malicious links are in the decrypted deep inside your website files. You can’t simply search malicious links and found it in any website file or database. Usually, these malicious codes are hidden somewhere in your theme or plugin files and further corrupt core files too. They will generate again if you not remove the complete code.
Sometimes this infected code can corrupt the main core file and database. These can come again or generate again after sometime, if you not able to delete/clean the entire code from some files or database completely.
Some Possible Ways to Find the Code:
1.) Check your all files and database with help of some reputed scanning plugin or tool and identify that some changes had been made close to the date when your ads were disapproved. I will prefer to check some core file manually. Take help of your website developer or hosting provider to check these files for you.
2.) Any changes you, your developer or your hosting company made close to the date of disapproval of ads. (Example – Install, Update, Addition of any code/plugin/file/js/css etc.)
3.) Check the Google console for any signal and also see if your website is blacklisted for any malware activity. However, in 99% cases search console won’t show any error for months. If Search Console doesn’t report any problems, your website could still have stability issues that were detected by Google Ads. Talk to your webmaster or hosting supplier and utilize resources such as Stop Badware to investigate more. Learn much more about the way Google identifies malicious or unwanted software.
4.) If you are using WordPress then there are many good plugins are available try to use 2-4 different plugins because every plugin has a different way to finding the code. If you have any custom HTML & CSS build website the issue is with some js or CSS file. For custom PHP website issue might be inside some php, js or css file.
5.) Take the help of your website developer or hosting provider to scan the entire website for you with some good hosting plugin. Usually they have the better tool in place to check and scan code for you.
Some Possible Ways to Fix the Website:
1.) Before fixing your website you should take a necessary back-up for your files and database or attempting any fix or changing any code on your website. After making any changes clear your website cache, server cache or any cache mechanism you might have on your website. Wait for 8-12 hours before any appeal for re-scan the website. With every request/appeal, ask support team to clear cache of their scanning tool.
2.) Contact the Google Ads support team via phone/chat/email and request them to email your some reference links of malicious code so that you can investigate further. (This will help you, your developer, or hosting company to fix the problem).
3.) You can try to restore all your website files and database at-least 2-3 days prior to your ads got disapproved. Most hosting companies create automated daily, weekly or monthly back-up This will undo all changes you and anyone else made on your website after the restore back-up date. So think before restoring any changes.
4.) Update all plugins and theme to latest reversion. Make sure that you are not using any theme, plugin, and code with any known vulnerability. Try to de-activate or better remove any/all theme you are not using or not essential at this time before you apply for approval.
5.) Stop all advertisement, pop-ups, flu-outs or any tracking script temporarily before asking Google support team to check the website. Try to remove any/all theme you are not using except the WordPress default themes.
6.) Try to remove any suspicious base64_decode, eval, referrer, decoded payload etc. in your website and database.
7.) After making any change and fixing the code, clear the cache on server and any cache on the website to make sure that code is not seen by any scanning tool again.
8.) Ask your developer or web designer to manually scan all website files and database for any encrypted code and fix before asking for another review. If you are using WordPress then the issue is most probably from any plugin or active website theme. After removing any code from your theme or plugin try to replace your wp-admin & wp-includes files.
9.) After fixing the code wait for 8-12 hours and rescan your website to check if code is not generated again. If you are sure that you cleaned the malicious code completely form your website then only ask for another review.
10.) Google delivers resources and guidelines that will assist you fix your website through Help for Hacked Websites. In the event that you can’t fix the ad’s destination, update the ad using a fresh destination that complies with this specific coverage.