Website for WTSP-Ch. 10 hobbled by virus warnings early this morning
Traffic at the website for local CBS station WTSP-Ch. 10 took a hit today after a problem with corrupted files led Google and several web browsers to treat the platform as a suspected attack page containing computer viruses.
Theresa Collington, WTSP's executive producer for digital platforms, said a web developer working on the station's website and the website for sister stations WTLV/WJXX in Jacksonville had corrupted files on his computers which affected files passed along to the stations' websites.
Though Collington said no users could pick up viruses from their websites, the corrupted files led Google and some web browsers' security features to reject the sites as possible attack pages formatted to steal personal information. She first noticed the problem early this morning and saw fixes implemented by noon through technicians working for WTSP's parent company, Gannett Broadcasting.
By this afternoon, Collington said, web browsers such as Internet Explorer and Safari would allow users to surf directly to WTSP's site. She is hopeful the problems with Google will be resolved within 24 hours.
But users who try clicking on links to WTSP's site indexed through a Google search now go to a warning page which says "visiting this website may harm your computer." Likewise, using the Firefox web browser to head directly to WTSP's site can bring up a warning saying the site has been reported as an attack page (graphic at left; h/t to FlNewsCenter.com).
"We're still having an average day (in user traffic), but we would have had a gangbusters day," said Collington, who noted the station's story on a local man stung by 500 killer bees was sparking interest before the problems. She couldn't say how much traffic the site has lost since it was blocked by Google, but websites typically see drastic drops in audience when cut off from the world's largest search engine.
"Nobody gut hurt, and we'll be more aggressive with our reporting tomorrow," she said.