Google boosts Safe Browsing API

The latest update shores up browser defense against malware, phishing and unwanted software.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Google continues to refine the firm's Safe Browsing API in order to keep web users safe from unwanted and malicious software.

Google's Safe Browsing API is an inbuilt feature which protects users against malicious programs, phishing campaigns, unsafe sites and malware. In Chrome, a warning is displayed to users attempting to download "deceptive" software, and in February, the tech giant rolled out warnings which extended to visiting websites which encouraged the download of such software.

Safe Browsing works by checking website URLs against Google's lists of suspected phishing, malware, and deceptive software pages -- a list which is being constantly updated. The tech giant defines unwanted software as "deceptive software disguised as a useful download [which] harms your web experience by making undesired changes to your computer."

In addition, the API can warn users before they click on links which may lead to malware-infected pages, and also prevent them posting malicious links on your website.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Google Safe Browsing Program Manager Emily Schechter said Safe Browsing technology is being continually rolled out across the company's offerings, including the Chrome web browser and Google Analytics. However, the API is also built into Firefox and other browsers.

"In addition to our constantly-updated malware and phishing data, our unwanted software data is now publicly available for developers to integrate into their own security measures. For example, any app that wants to save its users from winding up on sites that lead to deceptive software could use our API to do precisely that," Schechter says.

According to Google, the API is helping to protect over 1.1 billion users online.

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