Chrome for Android blocks access to malware and scam websites

Google extends its Safe Browsing blacklisting technology to Android

If you've ever seen the scary red pages in Google Chrome that prevent you from visiting a dangerous website, and wished you had them on your phone, then you're in luck: Google has extended Safe Browsing, the technology behind those security alerts, to Android.

Safe Browsing is now integrated into Google Play Services, starting with version 8.1, and apps are able to use it. Chrome for Android is the first to do so.

As in the desktop version of Chrome, Safe Browsing protects against websites that are known to host malware, potentially unwanted programs as well as phishing and other scams.

If you've surfed from an Android phone extensively you've probably been bombarded with persistent ads claiming that your phone is not running properly, that your battery drains too fast or that the device is insecure. All of them try to push some application that allegedly solves the made-up problems.

Since Chrome for Android, unlike the desktop version, lacks support for extensions and therefore does not offer an efficient ad-blocking solution, users will hopefully be able to rely on Safe Browsing to weed out deceitful ads and Web pages.

According to Google, implementing Safe Browsing on Android was not easy because mobile data plans have limited bandwidth, especially in some regions of the world. That's why some decisions had to be made to keep the list of blocked websites up to date and as small as possible when downloaded by devices.

"Some social engineering attacks only happen in certain parts of the world, so we only send information that protects devices in the geographic regions they’re in," Google said in a blog post. "We also make sure that we send information about the riskiest sites first: if we can only get a very short update through, as is often the case on lower-speed networks in emerging economies, the update really has to count."

The Safe Browsing and Android security teams also worked together to make sure that the technology uses as little processor and memory resources as possible, in order to keep the impact on the device battery minimal.

Users can check if their version of Chrome for Android has Safe Browsing enabled by going into the Settings > Privacy menu.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

More about Google

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Lucian Constantin

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place