Google has taken steps to remove malware websites from its search results, according to a ComputerWorld article released Wednesday.

Alex Eckelberry, CEO of Sunbelt Software Distribution Inc released the news Monday that Google had removed more than 40,000 malware sites from its search results. While Google refused to either confirm or deny this, spot checks by Sunbelt researcher Adam Thomas did not turn up any malware sites.

Malware Frustration Syndrome - picture of woman screaming through computer screen

While Google would not confirm the purge, or even if the sites existed in the index in the first place, a Google spokeswoman said in an email: “In our search results, we try to warn users of potentially dangerous sites when we know of them. Sites that clearly exploit browser security holes to install software, such as malware, spyware, viruses, adware and Trojan horses, are in violation of the Google quality guidelines and may be removed from Google’s index.”

A combination of “malicious” and “software”, malware is used to install unwanted software the may cause damage or unwanted behavior on the infected computer. Even if these malware sites have been removed from the search index, hackers tend to find ways to get their malware back in the path of internet users one way or another.

Keeping your operating system and virus protection software up to date can help reduce the risk of becoming infected, but following a few simple tips is also recommended:

– Avoid file sharing applications.

– Never open an email attachment unless you are certain you know what it is.

– Avoid free software downloads unless they are from a trusted source.