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Is Webroot Racist?


I have 2 annual subscriptions with Webroot that I am going to cancel if what I see is true. I Googled 3 different websites that contain content FOR Black people BY Black people and I received a warning: “This site may contain content that could affect your online security.”

One of those websites is owned by ME therefore I know that it contains NO “content” that would even remotely affect your online security. This warning APPEARS to be a racist means to interfere with Black people from conducting legitimate business with each other.  

I am going to alert every African American website content producer to conduct a TEST to see if they are being flagged as a possible threat also. We have MILLIONS of followers across multiple social media platforms. If these flags are not removed within the next 72 hours, there will be a ton of videos released with Webroot as the subject. Then, if necessary we will take collective legal action.

I want the flag removed from www.youtubebannedvideos.com IMMEDIATELY. Otherwise, I am going to cancel my subscriptions and use a more TRUSTED service

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Best answer by DanP 11 April 2022, 21:49

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14 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +63

Hello @wsmall768 

 

If you feel that it should be changed please fill out this online form: https://www.brightcloud.com/tools/change-request.php and it’s not being blocked and click on the picture below as it says low popularity and nothing more!

 

 

Thanks,

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

Be more curious to know what the real reason for the flagging was?


I find it hard to believe race played a role here, but I guess it is possible. I can understand your frustration here for sure. 
 

Can someone from Webroot please comment on how the decision is made to flag a site and where the data comes from? A few sites I use regularly have also been flagged when they have not been “dangerous”.  More info please. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +63

Be more curious to know what the real reason for the flagging was?


I find it hard to believe race played a role here, but I guess it is possible. I can understand your frustration here for sure. 
 

Can someone from Webroot please comment on how the decision is made to flag a site and where the data comes from? A few sites I use regularly have also been flagged when they have not been “dangerous”.  More info please. 

I don’t think so and show yellow or orange because there not well known so the best thing for the OP to do to is fill out the BrightCloud online form and I’m sure they will change it because some sites I visit were the same and I asked them to check it again and they did! @speruzzi is from the BrightCloud Team if she is still with Webroot/BrightCloud/Opentext? @khumphrey  @TylerM 

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

Thanks Daniel. Great graphic.  And thanks for the video. Did answer the questions I had. Cheers.

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Very bizarre that the websites are being flagged but I am sure that the low popularity is the only reason. Hopefully nothing more sinister at play!

Userlevel 7
Badge +30

Hi,


There are many factors that go into a website determination and I’m certain, the color of ones skin, DOES NOT factor into that determination. My MSSP deals in the great nation of South Africa and many businesses there are owned by people of color.

The age (how long it existed), the location of the site (is it hosted in Russia, South Korea), is the hosting provider or IP known to have had infections or compromises prior, was the site flagged as spam, was the site hacked, Does it have a valid security certificate etc…. All these go into determination of the site. 

 

I was easily able to visit the site mentioned above but of course my DNS Protection from Webroot warned it was low reputation, but DID NOT block the site.

 

You can visit the link @TripleHelix posted to check reputation and put in a ticket to have it manually reviewed should you feel the determination isn’t correct. That’s not to say it will be changed just for you either, but they’ll take another look and tweak stuff for you.

 

Thanks for posting here and allowing us to help explain a bit better. 

 

Cheers

John

 

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Userlevel 7
Badge +18

@TylerM ,

know anyone on the threat research team that could chime in here?

Userlevel 7
Badge +35

Hello @wsmall768,

 

www.youtubebannedvideos.com has been assigned the correct category and the reputation raised so you will no longer see that warning. It may take up to 24-48 hours for that change to occur.

You mentioned that you saw three sites with the warning in the search results, we want to correct those as well. You can submit them to https://www.brightcloud.com/tools/change-request.php or reply to this thread.

 

-Dan

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

@wsmall768 

This block is automated based on it’s reputation score (orange). The reputation score is calculated from our threat intelligence that analyzes backend, topical information on the website interpreted in the form of 1s and 0s. The current decision to block your website (made by computer) was because of the low popularity. This can be rectified by submitting for a category change as listed by other members here. 

 

However, I have already taken the liberty of forwarding this to our Web classification team who should evaluate the site (with an actual human) and likely unblock within 24 hours.

 

I know it can be frustrating when encountering automation that doesn’t work the way we want, but I can assure you that the machine learning website classification doesn’t know you personally or the color of your skin, nor are any of these attributes even factors in a decision to block. When ANYONE makes a website from scratch, getting a good reputation and ultimately unblocked can be an uphill battle and will likely require many reputation change requests from multiple security vendors - especially when the website is new. 

 

I hope this explanation helps, please let me know if you have any further questions 😀

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

Hello @wsmall768,

 

www.youtubebannedvideos.com has been assigned the correct category and the reputation raised so you will no longer see that warning. It may take up to 24-48 hours for that change to occur.

-Dan

I just went there and there was no warning. So it has taken effect already. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

Hello @wsmall768,

 

www.youtubebannedvideos.com has been assigned the correct category and the reputation raised so you will no longer see that warning. It may take up to 24-48 hours for that change to occur.

-Dan

I just went there and there was no warning. So it has taken effect already. 

 

Userlevel 5

Hi,


There are many factors that go into a website determination and I’m certain, the color of ones skin, DOES NOT factor into that determination. My MSSP deals in the great nation of South Africa and many businesses there are owned by people of color.

The age (how long it existed), the location of the site (is it hosted in Russia, South Korea), is the hosting provider or IP known to have had infections or compromises prior, was the site flagged as spam, was the site hacked, Does it have a valid security certificate etc…. All these go into determination of the site. 

 

I was easily able to visit the site mentioned above but of course my DNS Protection from Webroot warned it was low reputation, but DID NOT block the site.

 

You can visit the link @TripleHelix posted to check reputation and put in a ticket to have it manually reviewed should you feel the determination isn’t correct. That’s not to say it will be changed just for you either, but they’ll take another look and tweak stuff for you.

 

Thanks for posting here and allowing us to help explain a bit better. 

 

Cheers

John

 

 

I am sure that race of the website owner indeed has nothing to do with the reputation. It is more likely based on other factors, which might be (coincidentally) the same on all websites mentioned bij the topic starter.

Userlevel 5

The block is not Webroot related. I visit the site form behind a Fortigate guarded system and also get a block:

URL: www.youtubebannedvideos.com/
Category: Pornography
 

Userlevel 7
Badge +30

@Arjan 

 

So in this instance, the intelligence that Fortinet are using for their web classification is not updated or accurate to properly classify this site. 

And this is what you’ll run into sometimes with various vendors and their products/services. Just gotta place a ticket and tell them the proper classification and have them update it. 

Cheers
John

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