New protections for Enhanced Safe Browsing users in Chrome

In 2020 we launched Enhanced Safe Browsing, which you can turn on in your Chrome security settings, with the goal of substantially increasing safety on the web. These improvements are being built on top of existing security mechanisms that already protect billions of devices. Since the initial launch, we have continuously worked behind the scenes to improve our real-time URL checks and apply machine learning models to warn on previously-unknown attacks. As a result, Enhanced Safe Browsing users are successfully phished 35 percent less than other users.  Starting with Chrome 91, we will roll out new features to help Enhanced Safe Browsing users better choose their extensions, as well as offer additional protections against downloading malicious files on the web. 

Chrome extensions - Better protection before installation

Every day millions of people rely on Chrome extensions to help them be more productive, save money, shop or simply improve their browser experience. This is why it is important for us to continuously improve the safety of extensions published in the Chrome Web Store. For instance, through our integration with Google Safe Browsing in 2020, the number of malicious extensions that Chrome disabled to protect users grew by 81 percent. This comes on top of a number of improvements for more peace of mind when it comes to privacy and security.

Enhanced Safe Browsing will now offer additional protection when you install a new extension from the Chrome Web Store. A dialog will inform you if an extension you’re about to install is not a part of the list of extensions trusted by Enhanced Safe Browsing.

Any extensions built by a developer who follows the Chrome Web Store Developer Program Policies, will be considered trusted by Enhanced Safe Browsing.  For new developers, it will take at least a few months of respecting these conditions to become trusted. Eventually, we strive for all developers with compliant extensions to reach this status upon meeting these criteria. Today, this represents nearly 75 percent of all extensions in the Chrome Web Store and we expect this number to keep growing as new developers become trusted.

Improved download protection

Enhanced Safe Browsing will now offer you even better protection against risky files.

When you download a file, Chrome performs a first level check with Google Safe Browsing using metadata about the downloaded file, such as the digest of the contents and the source of the file, to determine whether it’s potentially suspicious. For any downloads that Safe Browsing deems risky, but not clearly unsafe, Enhanced Safe Browsing users will be presented with a warning and the ability to send the file to be scanned for a more in depth analysis (pictured above).

If you choose to send the file, Chrome will upload it to Google Safe Browsing, which will scan it using its static and dynamic analysis classifiers in real time. After a short wait, if Safe Browsing determines the file is unsafe, Chrome will display a warning. As always, you can bypass the warning and open the file without scanning. Uploaded files are deleted from Safe Browsing a short time after scanning.

Posted by Badr Salmi, Google Safe Browsing & Varun Khaneja, Chrome Security