Google's 'Safe Browsing' Service To Fight macOS-Specific Malware

Google announced that it enhanced the Safe Browsing service in Chrome to be more aware of macOS-specific malware and fight ad injection attacks as well as unwanted Chrome settings modifications.

macOS And Malware

Long gone are the days when Apple could claim that its Macs "don't get viruses.” Of course, at the time Apple also conveniently used the term, which is quite specific in nature (malicious piece of code that self-replicates and spreads to other computers), knowing very well that most of its customers would take it to mean that Macs can’t get malware.

That wasn’t quite true, as there have been other types of malware on macOS including worms, trojans, and spyware. As Apple’s Mac ecosystem has continued to grow it's also become an increasingly attractive target for malicious hackers. Eventually Apple had to stop saying Macs don’t get viruses.

Despite being quite damaging for the people who get it, ransomware isn't yet all that common, even on the more popular Windows platform. However, Macs recently started to get ransomware, too, which is more proof that the platform has become a more interesting target to attackers.

Google's Safe Browsing

Google’s Safe Browsing, which is a service that identifies malware on the web and blocks it in browsers, has been used by multiple browsers including Chrome, Firefox, and even Safari. Google announced that it’s going to make the Safe Browsing service more aware of the macOS-specific malware so it can block it more effectively.

The company will focus on two common abuses by malicious actors on macOS, such as unwanted ad injection and manipulation of Chrome user settings. Google recently released the Chrome Settings API for Mac, which allows developers to change Chrome’s settings in a safe way for users. However, the developers are only allowed to make the changes through extensions hosted on the Chrome Web Store.

Starting March 31, Chrome will also notify users when a piece of code attempts to modify the Chrome settings without using the Chrome Settings API.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • zthomas
    There is a new add blocker called (Bad add Johnny) that has a almost the same pop up notice as googles.. I run adblock and bad johnny together.. I am convent nobody is tracking me..
  • jdlech
    Who protects us from Google. When I surf the web, I don't want targeted ads, I don't want to hand out my personal information, I don't want people tracking my habits, I don't want anything about me recorded or shared or used. These days, I want a plug in that totally randomizes all data that gets shared with servers except for the cookies I chose to use. And even then, I don't want anyone reading a cookie except the site that created it.
    Nothing good will ever come out of all this web based corporate stalking.