Google Safe Browsing to expand warnings

Google Safe Browsing to expand warnings

Summary: In addition to what is clearly malware, Chrome will now warn of programs that change the system or browser configuration deceptively.

TOPICS: Security, Google

Google has announced that it is changing its Safe Browsing API in order to warn of additional types of abusive software.

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Safe Browsing is a public web service used by Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari. When the user navigates to a site or downloads a file, Safe Browsing checks that site or file against a list of sites determined by Google to serve phishing or malware attacks and malicious file signatures.

Starting next week, Safe Browsing will warn of programs that may not qualify as malware and are disguised as a helpful download, but which "...make unexpected changes to your computer — for instance, switching your homepage or other browser settings to ones you don't want." Such programs are common. They can change search engines, the home page, insert ads or even weaken security settings.

It's not clear whether the changes will be available to Firefox or Safari immediately or, if they are, whether those browsers will need to update software to take advantage of it. We have asked Google and will update this story when it responds.

Google's public definition of malware as used by Safe Browsing is short on specifics. Such definitions have been controversial over time, as some sites, especially those which serve advertising, try to push the limits without running afoul of important gatekeepers like Google.

Chrome will issue a warning for programs which deceptively change your configuration.

Safe Browsing has been in the news recently for other reasons. Its malware reputation system was made available to Firefox and Google redesigned the warning pages.

Topics: Security, Google

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  • Great for Windows users ...

    I'm sure Google is happy to help them with their defences against malware.

  • Google and Safe browsing ??????? Dream on.

    Thieves in suits.... Google products are not trustworthy.
    • why?

      why? any example like disastrous security iCloud celebrity leak?
      or youre just saying "because"? :)
      Jiří Pavelec
  • IE had this feature ages ago.

    • Well.... no

      IE has had SmartScreen for ages, but until Windows 8 that blocks phishing sites only. In Windows 8 SmartScreen blocks malicious downloads as well, although I'm not sure what Microsoft's definition of malicious is in this context.
  • One can hope

    No more Ask Toolbars? (Actually, a colleague was asking me how to remove Ask this morning, and I laughed at her - not sure that was quite the reaction she wanted).

    McAfee consigned to the dump heap?

    We shall see whether some companies get better treatment than others.
  • Anything ......

    that helps keep the "Creepazoids" away from your machine is a good thing.
    da philster
  • Will it help

    Just has Adobe Flash install Google Toolbar (I missed the default install it box). Have had problems with installs installing Chrome (not used in our environment). Will it help there?