Google is planning to add a new feature to its Chrome browser that will block malicious downloads automatically, helping to prevent drive-by downloads and the kind of malware that rides along with supposedly legitimate software.
The new addition to Chrome already is in the development queue, appearing in the company’s Canary channel, which is the earliest development release available. The feature is meant to help protect users against the kind of malware that often is installed with users’ knowledge and make changes to their machines or install other malicious components such as keyloggers or Trojans.
With this new feature enabled, Chrome will show users a small notification in the bottom of the browser window, alerting them that a download has been blocked automatically.
“In the current Canary build of Chrome, we’ll automatically block downloads of malware that we detect. If you see this message in the download tray at the bottom of your screen, you can click “Dismiss” knowing Chrome is working to keep you safe,” Linus Upson, vice president of Google, said in a blog post explaining the changes.
“This is in addition to the 10,000 new websites we flag per day with Safe Browsing, which is used by Chrome and other browsers to keep more than 1 billion web users safe.”
Along with the addition of automatic malicious download blocking, upcoming versions of Chrome also will have a feature that will roll back users’ browser settings to the original state at the press of a button. This can help users recover from a malware infection that changes browser settings, resets home pages or prevents users’ from removing a plugin or extension.
“Bad guys trick you into installing and running this kind of software by bundling it with something you might want, like a free screensaver, a video plugin or—ironically—a supposed security update. These malicious programs disguise themselves so you won’t know they’re there and they may change your homepage or inject ads into the sites you browse. Worse, they block your ability to change your settings back and make themselves hard to uninstall, keeping you trapped in an undesired state,” Upson said.
“We’re taking steps to help, including adding a “reset browser settings” button in the last Chrome update, which lets you easily return your Chrome to a factory-fresh state. You can find this in the “Advanced Settings” section of Chrome settings.”
Image from Flickr photos of F Delventhal.