Google “Gatekeeper” aims for safer extension installations
Google on Thursday announced additional new features to help Enhanced Safe Browsing users make better choices when installing extensions from the Chrome Web Store. The tech giant will also offer additional protections against downloading malicious files from the web.
In one blog post, Google said a dialog box will notify users if an extension they’re about to install isn’t on the list of extensions approved by Enhanced Safe Browsing.
An extension built by a developer who follows the Chrome Web Store Developer Program Policies will be considered approved by Enhanced Safe Browsing. For new developers, it will take at least a few months of meeting these conditions to become trustworthy. Ultimately, Google said it is working hard to ensure that all developers with compliant extensions achieve trusted status. Today, nearly 75% of all extensions in the Chrome Web Store are trusted, and that number is expected to increase.
Google has clearly been a leader in promoting web user safety and security and should be commended for prioritizing this, said Tim Wade, technical director of the CTO team at Vectra. However, Wade pointed out that being in the position of gatekeeper to determine what is trustworthy gives tremendous influence to an organization that has more than three-quarters of the browser market.
“As long as the control rules are simple and transparent, and user safety remains at the heart of the mission, we can sleep well at night knowing that fewer people will be at risk by continuing the essential web services on which they depend.” , Wade said. .
Austin Merritt, Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst at Digital Shadows, said that when Chrome users turned on Safe Browsing, Chrome shares additional browsing data with Google to enable more accurate threat assessments. Enhanced Safe Browsing alerts users to potentially dangerous files by searching for metadata that detects malicious flags and URLs. It can also alert users if a data breach has exposed their password.
“While the new safeguards will likely raise more privacy concerns when it comes to sharing data with Google, Safe Browsing is an optional tool that has so far proven effective in reducing the likelihood of phishing attacks. successful, ”Merritt said.