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Liberal Blog ThinkProgress Hit With Malware Message -- And a Web Expert We Contacted Isn't Buying Their Explanation


"If you've visited this site in the past or you trust this site, it's possible that it has just recently been compromised by a hacker."

Tuesday morning into the early afternoon, the site, a blog for the progressive group Center for American Progress, had a malware message when visited through the Google Chrome or Firefox browsers. ThinkProgress claims to have found the issue, but a web expert interviewed by TheBlaze doesn't quite buy their explanation.

Here are a couple screenshots of the message:

The message stated Google detected malicious software on the website that could be installed on your computer should you choose to continue to the site.

"If you've visited this site in the past or you trust this site, it's possible that it has just recently been compromised by a hacker. You should not proceed, and perhaps try again tomorrow or go somewhere else," the message continued.

The Google message stated that it had already notified ThinkProgress with this information. ThinkProgress tweeted that it was aware of the issue and was investigating what happened. It later tweeted that it found the source of the problem -- a link from two years ago.

A look at Google's Safe Browsing diagnostic page for ThinkProgress revealed that Google had did not find the site hosting malicious software within the past 90 days.

While most Twitter users reported experiencing the issue on Chrome, one said Internet Explorer posted the message as well. Safari seemed to be functioning just fine, too.

Justin Basch, president and founder of the web company Basch Solutions, gave TheBlaze some insight as to what could be going on and also noted seeing the issue on Firefox.

The short answer is that Basch thinks the message means the site was hacked, which is not indicated in ThinkProgress' most recent findings mentioned on Twitter. Basch questions ThinkProgress' explanation as to the malware though.

"It's highly unlikely that they just happened to 'link to a virus' or a viciously attacked website," he said.

TheBlaze emailed the Center for American Progress' communications department regarding Basch's perspective and has not yet heard back.

Basch also noted that ThinkProgress uses the platform Wordpress, one that he said isn't too difficult to enter. He told TheBlaze "their website is wide open." He was able to find their admin panel within 10 seconds.

He doesn't think visiting the site would automatically infect your computer with malware, if it was in fact hacked, but said it was more so the type of attack meant to take down the website.

"It's still a virus and you don't want to be on the site longer than you have to be though," Basch said in an interview.

So why are Chrome and Firefox providing an error message while other browsers are not? Basch said some browsers are cached, meaning they are seeing an older version of the site before it could have been hacked. He also said that some browsers might not post a malware warning like Chrome and Firefox.

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