A bug in the Google search engine breaks the links shown in the search results if the link contains a plus symbol (+)
Digital forensics specialists have reported the appearance of a bug present in Safari, the macOS search engine, which breaks the search results links if the link contains a plus (+) symbol. For example, if you search for a word and one of the found links is shown as https://forums.developer.apple.com/search.jspa?q=crash+app+store, for example, when you click on the link you will not get any answer, since the link won’t be able to redirect you to the site.
This bug was disclosed through a Twitter account belonging to the site wellness-heaven.de, whose admins noticed around September 28 a significant drop in the traffic of Safari users.
“This flaw is clearly visible with Analytics, when the URL of the destination page is filtered with the “+ “character. Only the URLs containing “+” were blocked, probably none of those clicks could redirect to the respective site, further reducing the search level for all browsers”, as can be read in the Twitter post.
When this problem was reported to John Mu, a webmaster trend analyst on Google, Mu responded that it was really strange and he would communicate the bug report inside the company.
For those who may have noticed a drop in traffic from their sites as of September 28, digital forensics experts recommend checking your scanning software to determine if this is because Safari users cannot click the links in the right way.
Investigators from several security firms have been able to confirm the existence of this bug using the search results of Apple found in Safari of the MacOS Sierra system.
Apparently the bug also affects the browser Firefox 61.0.1 in macOS, but it seems to work well with Chrome 69.
Experts in digital forensics from the International Institute of Cyber Security say that Google has also been informed about the error, although the company has not pronounced about it through any media.
Working as a cyber security solutions architect, Alisa focuses on application and network security. Before joining us she held a cyber security researcher positions within a variety of cyber security start-ups. She also experience in different industry domains like finance, healthcare and consumer products.