Google to make it easier to find ‘trusted’ extensions, scan risky downloads

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 04, 2021

Enhanced Safe Browsing will now offer additional protection for users when they install a new extension from the Chrome Web Store

Google will roll out new safety features as part of its Enhanced Safe Browsing security settings for its web browser Chrome starting with Chrome 91.

“Starting with Chrome 91, we will roll out new features to help Enhanced Safe Browsing users better choose their extensions, as well as offer additional protections against downloading malicious files on the web,” Google said in an official release.

Enhanced Safe Browsing will now offer additional protection for users when they install a new extension from the Chrome Web Store. Chrome will display a dialogue box that will inform users if an extension that they wish to install is not a part of the list of extensions trusted by Enhanced Safe Browsing.

Google will add extensions to the “trusted” list if they are built by a developer who follows the Chrome Web Store Developer Program Policies.

Also read: Google announces a range of safety features and technologies across platforms

“For new developers, it will take at least a few months of respecting these conditions to become trusted. Eventually, we strive for all developers with compliant extensions to reach this status upon meeting these criteria,” it said.

Currently, this represents nearly 75 per cent of all extensions in the Chrome Web Store.

Enhanced Safe Browsing will now also offer users protection against potentially risky downloads. This includes additional safety checks.

When a user downloads a file, Chrome performs a first level check with Google Safe Browsing using metadata about the downloaded file, such as the digest of the contents and the source of the file, to determine whether it’s potentially suspicious.

“For any downloads that Safe Browsing deems risky, but not clearly unsafe, Enhanced Safe Browsing users will be presented with a warning and the ability to send the file to be scanned for a more in depth analysis,” Google explained.

Real-time file scanning

Chrome will upload the file to Google Safe Browsing if a user chooses to do so. It will then be scanned using Google Safe Browsing’s static and dynamic analysis classifiers in real-time. After a short wait, if Safe Browsing determines the file is unsafe, Chrome will display a warning.

Users have the option to bypass the warning and open the file without scanning. Uploaded files are deleted from Safe Browsing a short time after scanning.

The tech giant launched Enhanced Safe Browsing in 2020 which users can turn on in their Chrome security settings. The new improvements are being built on top of existing security mechanisms.

Since the initial launch, Enhanced Safe Browsing users are successfully phished 35 percent less than other users, Google said.

Published on June 04, 2021

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