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Google announces new protections for Enhanced Safe Browsing tool

Google has rolled out new features that will help improve Google Chrome’s Enhanced Safe Browsing mode as part of its commitment to keep people safe and secure online. Updates include better protection measures prior to installing Google Chrome extensions, as well as improved safeguard against the potential download of malicious files on the web.

Enhanced Safe Browsing was introduced in 2020, offering an advanced level of security from dangerous websites and downloads. Turning on this option in Chrome’s security settings enables more accurate threat assessments and tailored protection measures. Since the initial launch, people who use Enhanced Safe Browsing are 35% less phished in comparison to other users.

Better protection for Chrome extensions

Several people who are trying to be more focused and productive, needing a reminder for a break, trying to score the best shopping deals or simply looking to improve their browser experience rely on numerous Chrome extensions. This is why Google continuously improves the safety of extensions published in the Chrome Web Store; in fact, over the past year, the number of malicious extensions that Chrome disabled to protect users grew by 81%.

To make published extensions even more secure, Enhanced Safe Browsing will now inform people if their chosen extension does not follow the  Chrome Web Store Developer Program Policies prior to installation.  A dialog will inform a person if an extension is not a part of the list of extensions trusted by Enhanced Safe Browsing.

Warning against malicious downloads

By using metadata, such as a file’s source or contents, Chrome now performs a first-level check when files are downloaded. When downloads are deemed risky (but not clearly unsafe), people are presented with a warning and are given the option to have the file scanned for a more in-depth analysis. These are then uploaded to Google Safe Browsing and are scanned using real-time static and dynamic analysis classifiers. If proven unsafe, users will be notified and are recommended to discard the file. Uploaded files are also deleted shortly after scanning.

People are still in full control of their preferred actions and may opt to bypass the initial warning and open files without further scanning.

The new features will be rolled out starting with Chrome 91. To turn on the Enhanced Safety Browsing mode, visit the Privacy and Security settings and select the “Enhanced protection” mode under Safe Browsing.

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