Google to Scan Extension for Chrome to Weed out Malicious Files

Google announced that it’s strengthening the security of its Chrome browser by extending the functionality of Enhanced Safe Browsing to let users filter out malicious extensions.

One of Google Chrome’s strengths is the ability to install extensions to improve the user experience. Users can also manually install extensions, from outside the official store, expopsing themselves to possible malware. Of course, the protection extends to extensions from the Chrome Web Store.

“Enhanced Safe Browsing will now offer additional protection when you install a new extension from the Chrome Web Store,” says Google. “A dialog will inform you if an extension you’re about to install is not a part of the list of extensions trusted by Enhanced Safe Browsing.”

“Any extensions built by a developer who follows the Chrome Web Store Developer Program Policies, will be considered trusted by Enhanced Safe Browsing. For new developers, it will take at least a few months of respecting these conditions to become trusted,” Google added.

The company is also building a list of extensions trusted by the browser, but not all developers are on this list. Around 25% of all extensions are not trusted, but Google hopes to increase that percentage in the near future.

The new protections added to Google Chrome will extend to regular files as well, with the browser now checking whether a downloaded file could be suspicious. It’s doing so by looking at the file metadata and its download origin. Users can choose to keep the file despite the warning.

These new features have been available in the development version of Google Chrome, but they are now ready to be deployed in Chrome 91, the latest stable iteration.

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