Chrome to warn of possible settings hijack

Summary:Malicious Windows program sometimes mess with Chrome settings without telling the user. Chrome will now detect this and offer to revert to defaults.

According to Google, the number one user complaint they get for the Chrome browser is when software hijacks the Chrome settings. This is in spite of measures they've taken to combat the problem, such as adding a "reset browser settings" button to Chrome's settings page.

The next step in protecting Chrome users will be for it to detect when settings have changed in a suspicious manner. This will be a change only on Windows, presumably because that is where the problem is.

When Chrome has detected a settings change, it will raise this message:

Reset+Prompt+v1[1]

"Chrome has detected that your browser settings may have changed without your knowledge. Would you like to reset them to their original defaults?" You can choose "Reset" or "No Thanks" and you can choose to report what happened to Google.

According to Google, these surreptitious settings changes usually occur when users install a game or screen saver or some other such free program.

If you choose Reset, all your extension, apps and themes will be disabled. You can re-enable extensions on the Tools->Extensions screen. Chrome re-enables apps the next time you use them. Themes are set in the Settings screen.

Topics: Security, Google, Windows

About

Larry Seltzer has long been a recognized expert in technology, with a focus on mobile technology and security in recent years. He was most recently Editorial Director of BYTE, Dark Reading and Network Computing at UBM Tech. Prior to that he spent over a decade consulting and writing on technology subjects, primarily in the area of sec... Full Bio

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