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Google's 'Safe Browsing' Program To Block More Websites With 'Unwanted Software'

Whether it's through its Chrome browser, search engine, or other services, Google has been trying to increase security on the Web by pushing more aggressively for standards and policies that help protect the users.

About a year ago, Google started warning Chrome users about "unwanted software," which the company defines through the following basic characteristics:

  • It is deceptive, promising a value proposition that it does not meet.
  • It tries to trick users into installing it or it piggybacks on the installation of another program.
  • It doesn't tell the user about all of its principal and significant functions.
  • It affects the user's system in unexpected ways.
  • It is difficult to remove.
  • It collects or transmits private information without the user's knowledge.
  • It is bundled with other software, and its presence is not disclosed.

In the coming weeks, Google will increase its focus on this type of security and announced that users should expect to see more warnings in Chrome (and other browsers that support Safe Browsing) about sites that offer such software. The unwanted software could appear on websites through a variety of methods, including through ad injectors or through ad networks lacking strict quality guidelines.

The new unwanted software protections are part of the Safe Browsing program, which includes protections against sites that are infected with malware, or against dangerous file downloads. Google Safe Browsing's lists of malware or phishing websites are also used by Firefox and Safari.

Google promised that the program won't be used beyond the declared objectives:

“We want to be really clear that Google Safe Browsing's mandate remains unchanged: 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 Google's Safe Browsing team in a blog post.

A few days ago, a popular torrent site was blocked in Chrome showing the exact same message that the unwanted software warnings will show. This could have been part of Google's earlier testing for the new protections integrated into Safe Browsing. However, Google never made it clear whether this was an error on its own part or whether the site had malware at the time (that the site owners got rid of later).

Filtering programs such as Google's Safe Browsing are powerful tools that can protect against most malicious sources but can also block sites that shouldn't be blocked, which is why both Google and users of the Safe Browsing program on Chrome, Firefox or Safari need to be vigilant about what gets blocked.

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  • Morbus
    Oh no! They're gonna block the google chrome website!!!

    "It is deceptive, promising a value proposition that it does not meet."
    Check.

    "It tries to trick users into installing it or it piggybacks on the installation of another program."
    Totally check.

    "It doesn't tell the user about all of its principal and significant functions."
    Oh, definitely check.

    "It affects the user's system in unexpected ways."
    LEL.

    "It is difficult to remove."
    Not check.

    "It collects or transmits private information without the user's knowledge."
    <_<

    "It is bundled with other software, and its presence is not disclosed."
    Check.
    Reply
  • MarkW
    So far, those notices can be bypassed with a single click. So nothing really gets blocked. You just get notified that potential headaches lie ahead if you proceed onward.
    Reply
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    @Morbus: Thanks for the laugh! (even if it's kinda true...)
    Reply
  • thundervore
    So when Chrome piggy backs on the install of Java......... its ok?
    Reply
  • jaber2
    Total BS, I don't need google to tell me where I can and can't visit a site, if I see it one more time I am switching to another browser, they can go stick it where the Sun don't shine.
    Reply
  • MarkW
    16270948 said:
    Total BS, I don't need google to tell me where I can and can't visit a site, if I see it one more time I am switching to another browser, they can go stick it where the Sun don't shine.
    Guess who is going to be back complaining they bypassed the screen and now have malware and viruses on their system...

    Reply
  • Pherule
    I prefer to trust what Easylist, Dan Pollock, and Gorhill say are unsafe links.
    Reply
  • shaqblogs2011
    So far, those notices can be bypassed with a single click. So nothing really gets blocked. You just get notified that potential headaches lie ahead if you proceed onward.
    Well...

    https://www.corbettreport.com/whos-afraid-of-the-internet-elites-panic-as-information-control-flounders/
    https://www.corbettreport.com/just-be-evil-the-unauthorized-history-of-google/
    Reply
  • thundervore
    16271043 said:
    16270948 said:
    Total BS, I don't need google to tell me where I can and can't visit a site, if I see it one more time I am switching to another browser, they can go stick it where the Sun don't shine.
    Guess who is going to be back complaining they bypassed the screen and now have malware and viruses on their system...

    LMAO......so true.

    Reply
  • shaqblogs2011
    So far, those notices can be bypassed with a single click. So nothing really gets blocked. You just get notified that potential headaches lie ahead if you proceed onward.
    Don't be so quick to dismiss google and its intentions.
    A little research with an open mind will go a long way!

    History tells us something. And that something is 2 words.
    1. Power.
    2. Money.

    To understand power, you can start off with understanding how the banking system works. The power to create money, aka creation of credit (the official banking terminology), aka fractional reserve banking is in the hands of a few wealthy powerful people. Countries don't create money and pump purchasing power into an economy. This is don't by a few private banks and international bankers.

    In all the 10-15 wonderful years in school, did you learn, How new money is created? Who creates it? Where it comes from? What purpose does it serve?
    The most important entity that links every human on earth together is Money. Without which you or me or anybody else would be worthless and on the streets. Yet, someone very conveniently decided we are not to learn about this highly important topic called money. No school on planet teaches that, except the few handful of B-Schools, after which they end up as bankers!!

    Most people end up living their entire life thinking they understand the world we live in, but only a handful truly understand it.
    The journey to understanding the ugly planet we live in begins with understanding...Power! Which begins with understanding money!!
    Reply