06 April 2011 | 6,512 views

Google Chrome To Protect Users Against Malicious Executables

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It looks like Google Chrome is stepping up to provide users with the most secure browsing experience. The browser has been built with security in mind since the beginning with it’s sandbox model and it escaped exploitation during the recent Pwn2Own contest.

Now they are infringing on the area of anti-virus vendors and stepping up in the fight against malware by proposing to block applications that are harmful to Windows users.

All we need to do now is make sure all new computers ship out with Chrome or Firefox installed as the default browser.

Google says it’s expanding its blacklist of malicious websites to include those that use deceptive claims to push harmful Windows programs.

The addition to Google’s Safe Browsing API will warn people when they are about to visit websites that offer Windows-based trojans that are disguised as screen savers or other innocuous applications. The search behemoth introduced the service five years ago to alert users when they try to browse sites that perform drive-by downloads that exploit security vulnerabilities in the operating system or browsing software.

The underlying programming interface is already being used by browsers including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari. It’s also available to any webmaster who wants to use the wealth of information available from Google to prevent malicious links from being posted to their sites.

Seen as though this is part of the Google Safe Browsing API, I wonder will Firefox follow suit and implement this in their browser. It’s always a good idea to give users an additional layer of security.

The onion approach rather than security by obscurity – or more commonly, just not giving two shits.

Drive by downloads have been a problem for a long time, and will continue to be a problem when it comes to users lacking proper secure computing habits (e.g. most of the public mass).

“Safe Browsing has done a lot of good for the web, yet the internet remains rife with deceptive and harmful content,” Moheeb Abu Rajab, a member of Google’s security team, blogged on Tuesday. “It’s easy to find sites hosting free downloads that promise one thing but actually behave quite differently.”

Keyloggers, botnet software and adware are just three examples.

The new feature will initially be available only for Chrome users who subscribe to the browser’s development release channel. The company plans to integrate it into the next stable release of Chrome. There is no mention of it being made available to browser providers outside of Google.

The warning will be displayed whenever users encounter a download from a URL that matches the latest list of malicious websites published by the Google API.

Safe Browsing is good and I think it really helps, especially with phishing sites which tend to get reported very quickly and then are promptly blocked in users browsers.

The new feature isn’t available in the current stable release of Chrome, but will be merged into the next stable version and is currently available in the development release.

Source: The Register



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