Google to ramp up ‘unwanted software’ warnings in Chrome

Google says users of its Chrome browser will soon see more full page red warnings about unwanted software than they’ve ever seen before.

The extra warnings will come courtesy Google improving the smarts of its war on ad-injectors and other unwanted software, such as deceptively marketed software.

The company flagged the changes to the Chrome experience on Thursday, saying the reason users will see more alerts is that Google Safe Browsing — a Google service used in Chrome as well as Safari and Firefox to protect users from security threats on the web — is now better at detecting deceptive software.

“In the coming weeks, these detection improvements will become more noticeable in Chrome: users will see more warnings about unwanted software than ever before,” Moheeb Abu Rajab and Stephan Somogyi from Google’s Safe Browsing Team said in a blog post.

In these instances Google delivers a red interstitial warning page that details the security risks users may face if they proceed to a certain site. The URLs that trigger these warnings are on Google’s Safe Browsing database.

Google Safe Browsing initially aimed to protect users from malware and phishing attacks but last year expanded its mandate to include unwanted software, which according to its unwanted software policy includes software that is deceptively promoted; piggybacks or is secretly bundled with other other programs; conceals principal or significant functions; affects a system in an unexpected way; is difficult to remove; and secretly collects and sent private information.

That move came ahead of Google’s renewed efforts earlier this year to clean up ad injectors from the Chrome Web Store, which didn’t breach Google’s terms but nonetheless negatively impacted the user experience for Chrome users and were deceptively promoted.

The company in April disabled 192 Chrome browser extensions that deceptively injected rogue ads into the browser, among them a controversial ad injector called Superfish that Lenovo had pre-installed on some of its PCs .

Google stressed that the extra unwanted software warnings does not mean Google Safe Browsing’s mission has changed since it it began detecting unwanted software.

“We’re exclusively focused on protecting users from malware, phishing, unwanted software, and similar harm. You won’t see Safe Browsing warnings for any other reasons,” said the Google Safe Browsing team.

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

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