Google Chrome now warns you if you're about to install a dodgy extension

Google Chrome
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Google is bolstering its Enhanced Safe Browsing feature with new protection capabilities in Chrome (opens in new tab) which will help protect users when they try and download untrusted extensions.

The search giant first launched its Safe Browsing (opens in new tab) feature back in 2007 to warn users if they tried to visit a malicious website by checking URLs against a list of unsafe sites stored in its browser (opens in new tab)

Last year though, Google made Enhanced Safe Browsing (opens in new tab) available to Chrome users and this feature takes things a step further by protecting users from malicious downloads and extensions in addition to dangerous sites with new proactive safeguards and password breach warnings.

With the release of Chrome 91 (opens in new tab) last month, the company began rolling out a new feature to Enhanced Safe Browsing that warns users via a prompt if they try to install a Chrome extension (opens in new tab) from an untrusted developer. 

Developers that follow the Chrome Web Store Developer Program Policies are considered trusted by Enhanced Safe Browsing according to a new Google Security blog post (opens in new tab) while new developers will need to build up trust over a few months to be added to the list.

Download protection

In addition to protecting users from untrusted extensions, Chrome's Enhanced Safe Browsing feature will also provide them with better protection against risky files.

When a user downloads a file, Chrome will perform a first level check using metadata about the downloaded file including information on its contents and the source of the file to determine whether it is suspicious. For downloads that have been deemed risky but are not unsafe, Enhanced Safe Browsing users will now see a warning and will also be able to send the file to Google (opens in new tab) for additional scanning.

Google Safe Browsing will then scan the file using static and dynamic analysis classifiers in real time and after a short wait, Chrome will display another warning if Safe Browsing determines the file to be unsafe.

If you're concerned about your security online while working from home (opens in new tab), enabling Safe Browsing or Enhanced Safe Browsing is quite simple and can be done by opening Chrome's settings and heading to the Security menu.

Via BleepingComputer (opens in new tab)

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.