Google Looks to Protect You from… Yourself

Google is looking to to protect Internet users from themselves. The company’s Chrome Web browser will now warn users before they visit sites that might encourage them to download programs or malware that could cripple their computers or otherwise interfere with their Web-browsing experience.


When users attempt to visit one of the questionable sites, they will see this warning in red letters: “The site ahead contains harmful programs.”

The warning, part of what Google is terming SafeBrowsing, informs users that attackers may attempt to trick them into installing programs that harm their browsing experiences by changing their homepages or showing extra ads on the sites they visit.

Google is suggesting that unsafe sites fall into two categories. One group consists of malware sites that contain code to install malicious software onto users’ computers. Hackers can use this malicious software to capture and transmit users’ private or sensitive information. The other category consists of phishing sites that pretend to be legitimate while trying to trick users into typing in their usernames and passwords or sharing other private information.

The new precautions also extend to Google search and ads. A Google search now incorporates signals that identify deceptive sites, and Google recently began disabling ads that lead to sites with unwanted software.

Google has had SafeBrowsing malware warnings in place for several years now, but it was only last November that it added automatic malware blocking. At that time, Google noted that if users see malicious file warnings on Web sites going forward, “you can click ‘Dismiss’ knowing that Chrome is working to keep you safe.”

These new protections apparently emerged as a result of last week’s discovery that new Lenovo PCs had shipped between September and December of 2014 with pre-installed adware known as Superfish, which uses a man-in-the-middle attack to insert ads into Web browsers.

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