GREENSBORO, N.C. -- If you search the Guilford County Sheriff's Office through the google search engine, it says "this website may be hacked."
Richard Melton is the website developer for the Guilford County Sheriff's Office. Melton said that a citizen contacted the department about the warning that appeared on Google, which prompted Melton to run a test assessment on their site.
"I did identify one link that was suspicious that wasn't in the right nature of the website," said Melton.
Melton doesn't know for sure if their website was hacked or not, however in September after running tests, he determined there was malware attached to their website.
Malware is malicious software or coding that could disrupt computer operation.
The department never deactivated the website because they determined that no one else was threatened by the malware. Melton was able to identify the malware, remove it, and since then, all assessment tests have shown that the website is clean.
"We're susceptible to viruses and malware just like any citizen that's out there," said Melton.
Melton also informed WFMY News 2's Liz Crawford that the malware was attached to only the informational website. The area of the website that is linked to sheriff's office data is on a completely different server.
So if the website is secure, why does Google still say otherwise?
Melton told WFMY the malware links may still be active somewhere in cyber space. He took the proper steps to get google to remove the warning but google says it could take a while before the warning doesn't appear on their search results.
When you search for "Guilford county sheriff's office" on Bing or Ask.com, the warning does not appear.
Melton said, "It's very frustrating because when you know something happened and you've taken care of it that it's still out there, but as everyone knows, things get on the internet , and once it's on the internet, it's there until it comes off."
WFMY News 2, Guilford County Sheriff's Office