Chrome is getting better

Google knows everything.

Just admit it and stop trying to opt out of omniscience.  There’s nothing you can do to run from Google.

But this isn’t always a bad thing.  Let me explain what I mean.

Since 2012, Google’s Safe Browsing initiative has been helping about a billion users daily stay safe online.  The Safe Browsing algorithm is a like a digital lion which inexorably hunts down calumnious web sites.  Any pages that smell like malware are tagged and added to a giant database of dangerous sites.

On September 17th 2011, Google infused a client side version of Safe Browsing directly into Google Chrome.  The concomitant result was as surge in phishing warnings and users were in control of the kind of content they consumed.

Today, there are well over 350,000 compromised websites in the Safe Browsing database and rate of accretion doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

The most disquieting fact is that an appreciable number of the sites marked unsafe are actually innocent websites which were compromised during a hack.  Conversely, there are few sites specifically built to cause bedlam but most are valid sites that we all trust.

That’s the scary news.

Conspicuous warnings

The good news is that Google is making ardent strides to help you get the upper-hand on the bad guys out there.

Last week, Lucas Ballard, Software Engineer for Google Online Security, announced on the Google Blog that now Chrome will show you a new warning before downloading unwanted software.

The warning is obnoxiously loud, is blood red and basically says “Oh crap! What did I do wrong?”

And like McDonald’s, I’m loving it’

Just in case you didn't know, don't go to getfreemalware.com

Clicking the red Back to Safety button in the bottom right corner is like pressing the ejection button in a fighter jet: it’s a quick escape that will quickly expels disaster.

I think the bright new Chrome warning box is a big step forward in fighting malware.  And with the recent proliferation of malware like Superfish and many others, Google should be praised for making it harder for people to infect themselves.  Hopefully other browsers will follow Google’s lead and trigger a recrudescence of tighter security controls.

Google also let’s webmaster know if their sites are pushing malware.  Webmasters can click through Google Webmaster Tools to see if their site is triggering malware warnings in Chrome (which could be a clue that it was hacked)

Security Issues show up in Google Webmaster Tools

or even click through notifications in Google Analytics to see what’s going on.

Google Analytics now has Malware Notifications

So now I want to hear from you.  Talk to me.

What do you think of Google’s recent strides to fortify Chrome? Will it really help people stay safe from malware?  I’m curious what your thoughts are on this.  Let me know in the comments!

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  • Tom Austin

    Does Google release Chrome way before it’s ready like Microsoft does with Internet Explorer ? There seem to be endless patches for Explorer because it won’t play well with other Microsoft products, or security holes big enough to drive a truck through.