Why does google warn me when i search for PGP keys in a specific site? Does google think that I am Google Hacking?

When i do the same search for other websites Google just says that it found no search results, It usually will add the yellow warning when i search for keys on a security company website or Government website.

This is what I searched for.

"-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----" site:verisign.com

I gives me this warning with a yellow warning symbol.

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but if i search for:

"-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----" site:example.com

It will give me this warning without the yellow symbol:

enter image description here

What does the yellow warning mean?

  • heh.. genius. I would like to know the answer too - but after running this search google gets angry at you, and seemingly everyone coming from the same IP needs to do a captcha to verify they're not a bot.
    – pacifist
    Jan 3, 2014 at 0:04
  • Didn't happen to me. I ran his search several times and had no problems afterwards.
    – Johnny
    Jan 3, 2014 at 1:37
  • Google Support forums don't have a documented answer either.
    – Rohan Durve - Decode141
    Jan 3, 2014 at 12:35

4 Answers 4


The yellow warning ! icon is presented when your search is in quotes (i.e. match [quasi-]exact phrase), and there are no matches for the phrase, and there are matches when the search is made without quotes (any word order). It only has to do with the results found for the site.

For instance, these queries:

"examples illustrative" site:example.com
"examples illustrative" site:verisign.com

will both return the warning ! and then results. On the other hand, these queries:

"erehwon illustrative" site:example.com
"erehwon illustrative" site:verisign.com

will not show the warning ! icon (nor any results). There's nothing special about "PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK".


The "yellow sign" is there to warn you that though your exact request did not match any page, Google took the liberty to try the search again without the quotes. The question is then: why does Google try that only for some Web sites ?

Though this is, by nature, completely internal to Google's policies, my guess is that Google will do this fallback search only when the target site explicitly required it from Google through some contractual relation, similar to what they do with "ad words". In this case, chances are that Verisign paid Google to do "extra work" when the request is for their site.

  • I seem to doubt what you say because 1) Financial dealings like this are generally documented somewhere. 2) Parameters like site:gmail.com or site:google.com do not throw this error. Surely Google would give free advertisement to their own products.
    – Rohan Durve - Decode141
    Jan 3, 2014 at 14:57

It just means it didn't find anything on the site exactly as your query specified. There are things similar, but you have to retune your query. It has nothing to do with anything security related.

  • 1
    I updated my question to show the result for other searches.
    – kyle k
    Jan 3, 2014 at 1:00

Searching for PGP keys in general is one way spammers can harvest email addresses. This is probably why it trips the automated query filter.

I don't believe they give you any indication whatsoever as to whether or not they think you are doing something they dislike. The warning you get is benign and indicates some alternate string (elsewhere on the page) was used to produce your results.

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