The Google Screen of Death (GSoD)

We figure most people who have been using a Windows Computer have heard of the term “Blue Screen of Death” (BDoD).

The Windows famous BDoD is a blue screen which alerts you to a catastrophic Windows error complete with error message (which might as well be written in Greek). This terrible blue screen appears right before the computer turns itself off or reboots. Most folks receive this error while they are in the middle of something important and haven’t saved for 45 minutes. #funnynotfunny

The original BSoD looked something like this:

Blue Screen of Death

The current Blue Screen of Death is a little easier on the eyes:

The Windows 2018 Blue Screen of Death

What is the Google Screen of Death and why do I care?

The Google Screen of Death (GSoD) can be displayed on any computer, phone or tablet.  It is not Windows specific and Mac Owners get it, too!

How do you get the GSoD?

When you Google a business, school, medical condition, vacation destination or pet insurance a list of matches will be displayed on a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP).  That will look something like this:


Pet Insurance SERP

Take a look at the last two results on the page.

Link #1
Pet Insurance links to

Link #2
Pet Insurance for Dogs & Cats links to

Link #1
Points to a website that doesn’t have https:// in front of it and goes to an unencrypted (non secure) website.

Link #2
Points to a secure website which will display normally and not give you a warning.

If you click on the Link #1 you’ll be directed to a page that looks like this:

Non HTTPS website

As of a few weeks ago (July 2018) Google is marking all sites that have not migrated to HTTPS as “not secure.”

Instead of displaying the website, you will see the above warning screen any time you try to access a website that is not secure. Google has been working up to enforcing this for a few years but now you’ll see this error anytime you try to access a website that is non compliant.  They’re trying to prevent you from being misdirected to the wrong website and accidentally having your personal information (banking, passwords, credit cards, social) fall into the hands of the wrong website.

If you see the above message we strongly suggest that you click “Back to safety”

Click the “Back to Safety” blue button and safely leave without visiting that site (unless you are technical and know what you’re doing since Invalid or Self-Signed Certificates are used in website test environments.  It is possible to get this message on a secure website if the date on your computer is wrong).

The good news is, Chrome is doing this for your own safety.

Kaspersky also offers an additional level of protection with their “Safe Money” component which they offer with Kaspersky Internet Security (which we have installed on countless customer computers).

Kaspersky Safe Money

Kaspersky Internet Security 2017 prompts you to open the site in the Safe Money mode before you use online payment systems or banking accounts. After you agree to do it, the Protected Browser starts. Your financial operations are protected if the frame around your browser is green. If the frame is orange, then your system is not safe. Either Safe Money has started with an error, or your operating system contains critical vulnerabilities.

If you have any questions or comments about your computer or website security, let us know!

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