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Chrome Now Warns Users Before They Visit Harmful Sites

Google software engineer Lucas Ballard updated the company's Online Security Blog with news that the Chrome web browser, Google Search and Google Ads now provide even more protection against malicious sites and unwanted software.

News of the beefed-up Safe Browsing service arrives after Google rolled out a feature in October 2013 that warns users about a potential threat when clicking on a download link. When users click on the link within the Chrome browser, a warning pops up saying that the file may "harm your browsing experience," and the download is blocked unless the user clicks the "Dismiss" button.

The company also rolled out a "reset browser settings" button, which allows users to return Chrome to its default settings with the click of a button. To access the button, Chrome users simply need to hit the Settings icon in the top-right corner, select "Settings" and expand "Show Advanced Settings" to reveal "Reset Settings." Users can then click on the "Reset Settings" button.

According to Ballard, the Chrome browser will now show a new red warning when the user clicks on a link that's listed in the Safe Browsing blacklist. "Attackers on (website) might attempt to trick you into installing programs that harm your browsing experience," the warning states. Examples include programs that change the homepage, showing additional ads on visited websites and so on.

As for Google Search, this service now "incorporates signals that identify such deceptive sites," meaning users will likely not see the blacklisted sites in search results. Google has also disabled ads that lead to sites hosting unwanted software.

"If you're a site owner, we recommend that you register your site with Google Webmaster Tools," Ballard said. "This will help you stay informed when we find something on your site that leads people to download unwanted software, and will provide you with helpful tips to resolve such issues."

Google's Safe Browsing website revealed that around one billion people use the service, and "tens of millions" see warnings each week whether it's in Google's Chrome, Apple's Safari or Mozilla's Firefox browsers. Even more, each day Safe Browsing scans "billions" of websites and uncovers ten thousand malicious sites serving up unwanted downloads. Many of these websites are legitimate but have been infiltrated by hackers.

Google began warning about malicious downloads back in April 2011.

"We're constantly working to keep people safe across the web," Ballard said.

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  • Larry Litmanen
    Anyone else here using Windows 10, i used Chrome on W10 and got a virus, not even sure how, i did not visit any "questionable" website, so the virus is every time you click on something there's a pop up with some sort of an ad. I go into Windows Defender and it was actually complete disabled without an option to turn it back on. I run like 5 different virus, malware programs and they do not find anything.

    When i used Explorer i did not have any issues at all.

    Had to re install W10 again and using Explorer only, so far no issues.

    I was wondering if Chrome maybe somehow unprotected because W10 is still a Beta, for example i know for sure i can not make Gmail phone calls because you need a plug in from Chrome and that plug in does not work on W10.
    Reply
  • pjmelect
    Why is it that these site blocking services tend to block my favorite hacking sites that are not "harmful" to my computer at all. Is it a type of censorship? Its good that you can bypass the blocking.
    Reply
  • dextermat
    Problem is most computers I repair has crome infected. Usually, the first thing I do is uninstall chrome and the run adwcleaner, roguekiller ect... (bleepingcomputer.com)
    and then the computer runst fine.

    Chrome is java of last year. Easy to infect by driveby.
    Reply
  • iceblitzed
    a good antivirus from bleepingcomputer.com is combofix

    www.google.com/search?q=bleeping+computer+combo+fix
    Reply
  • jbeanfish
    Anti-virus is hokum. Just gives a false sense of security. Doesn't actually catch much of anything in the real world until it's too late.
    Reply
  • r0llinlacs
    I tried Chrome for a whole two seconds before I uninstalled it. The fact they don't let you disable cookies is a scam in itself, after I saw that, goodbye Chrome. No user options, Google controls your browser, not you. They do this so they can spy on you to sell ads, among other reasons.

    Both of my friends absolutely stubbornly swore by Chrome until recently, when they both got viruses at the same time from the Chrome browser. I told them and I've told them all along, but nooo they don't listen to me. Chrome is junk, it's purpose is not to browse the web, it's purpose is to spy on you and it's very apparent. It's glitchy, uses a ton of RAM, has lack of user control, and is obviously an unsafe browser.

    I've used firefox for as long as I can remember, since firefox 2.0 I believe, and never had any problems, so I see no reason to stop using it and I continue to use it. When Chrome came out, I laughed. A Google browser? A lot of people started using it and swore by it. Eventually, I tried it.... for two seconds as mentioned above.

    So, Google expanded the list of "harmful sites"? A previous comment mentioned censorship, and that's exactly what it is. Google colludes with government. I can't even keep track of how many times I've gone to basically any website I want on firefox, and want to show a friend something and their stupid Chrome browser blocks the website. During the whole Mike Brown ordeal, I wanted to show my friends a graph of witness testimonies and their Chrome browser blocked the website, my firefox worked great. This is extremely suspicious of Google to label a website with a graph of witness testimonies in favor of Mike Brown as an attack site during a time like that. Other things they label as "attack sites" are pirating websites and other similar websites, which is, by definition, censorship.

    Before anybody scolds me, I know some of it depends on your DNS, as I've had certain DNS servers that like to block certain websites, but most of the blocking is done by Google. Also, I realize some of the blocking stems from user complaints. There are some websites that really should be blocked, but what they do choose to block is what concerns me, and I don't trust Google as far as the two o's in their name.

    And... the government is coming for the entire internet now. Say goodbye to internet freedom, for now...
    Reply
  • iam2thecrowe
    Anyone else here using Windows 10, i used Chrome on W10 and got a virus, not even sure how, i did not visit any "questionable" website, so the virus is every time you click on something there's a pop up with some sort of an ad. I go into Windows Defender and it was actually complete disabled without an option to turn it back on. I run like 5 different virus, malware programs and they do not find anything.

    When i used Explorer i did not have any issues at all.

    Had to re install W10 again and using Explorer only, so far no issues.

    I was wondering if Chrome maybe somehow unprotected because W10 is still a Beta, for example i know for sure i can not make Gmail phone calls because you need a plug in from Chrome and that plug in does not work on W10.
    windows defender gets only 70% of viruses. Try AVG, it has been rated to get 95% and is free. Also run spybot S&D and Malwarebytes scans once a month for non-active protection. And a rootkit remover once a month too.
    Reply
  • ohim
    Opera had this since forever....
    Reply
  • achoo2
    It's too bad the story doesn't describe how the blocking actually works. Is it a distributed blacklist, or does the browser phone home requesting a green light for every site visited? It's bad enough that Google wants every single website owner to register with them - enough is enough.
    Reply
  • sykozis
    I spent last night running malware removers after adding several extensions to Chrome from the Chrome store. Apparently Google is more concerned with collecting your data by any means, than they are ensuring the safety of the apps and extensions they distribute. Would be nice if Google would put more effort into safety/security and a bit less into trying to sell people's lives.....
    Reply