Have you ever been browsing a website that you know and trust only to be stopped by a bright and flashy screen warning you that the page you just tried to open is riddled with malware and you should really just leave that site and never come back and, oh no, I hope it's not too late?
If you're using Google Chrome--which is incidentally the Web browser of choice among our users--chances are you've experienced this before. This is a security feature built into the browser and is generally a really good thing to have. Except for when it's not.
Every now and then, a user will host, say, their avatar image on a website that is known by Google to be a malware host, which is a problem for us. Even though we're not hosting this image and we're not infected by malware, any page that this user posts a comment on will be flagged as a malware carrier, and users will see something that may scare them away from the site.
This doesn't happen too often, but it has definitely been happening much more often lately--so much so that we've decided to make some changes to our offsite image hosting rules to fix this for good.
Update 2: We've added in Tinypic, Twitter, Flickr, and Minus to the trusted list.
Update: We've added in Steam to the trusted list. Also, the text below was changed to reflect that profile signatures will not be changed: users may continue to use external "gamer card" images and bring in images from offsite hosts for now, though we will reconsider this if we continue to be flagged as a malware carrier in the future.
Right now, you can either upload your user images (profile image, banner image, user icon, and blog header image) to GameSpot, or store them pretty much anywhere that you can link to.
Obviously it's the latter case that needs to change, which is why starting March 4, 2013, users will only be able to link off to the following trusted external image hosts for their user images:
- Google User Content (i.e. Google+, Picasa, etc.)
If after March 4, 2013, you are still linking off to user images hosted by any external provider except for the ones listed above, your images will be automatically changed to photos of Robocop. Or unicorns. Or Robocop riding a unicorn. Srsly. So consider this your warning.
If all of your images are hosted on some other obscure image hosting website that we've probably never heard of before and that you swear is totally legit and not at all a malware haven, and you really don't have the time to move them around, etc., etc., post your hosting domain in the comments below--we can't make any promises, but we'll consider adding additional hosts to our trusted whitelist if there is enough demand for one.