Google Chrome will now block all offensive site popups

Google Chrome
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With the release of Chrome 86 earlier this month, Google is now automatically hiding popups on websites that display abusive notification content to visitors.

The search giant first introduced its “quite notification permission UI” back in Chrome 80 and it was later improved upon in Chrome 84 when the company began automatically enrolling sites in its notification anti-spam system that use deceptive patterns to request notification permissions.

In the latest version of Chrome, the new enforcement focuses on notification content and is triggered by sites that have a history of sending messages to users in notifications that contain abusive content. For instance, some sites use web notifications to send malware or to impersonate system messages in an effort to obtain user's login credentials.

Now when users visit a site known for pushing intrusive notifications, they'll be automatically blocked on desktop while on mobile, a popup from Chrome will appear informing them that “This site may be trying to trick you into allowing intrusive notifications”. However, desktop users can also view this message by clicking on the crossed out bell icon in their address bar. Users will have the option to have Chrome continue blocking notifications from a site, though they can also allow them if they believe the site is safe.

Abusive notifications

In order to find which sites are abusing notifications, Google will use its automated web crawlers to subscribe to push notifications on sites across the web. Notifications that are then sent to these automated Chrome instances will be evaluated for abusive content using the company's Safe Browsing technology. Any sites found to be sending abusive notifications will be flagged for enforcement if the issue is unresolved.

Site owners can prevent their notifications from being blocked by using the Search Console Abusive Notifications Report to find out if Google's web crawler has detected any abusive notification behavior from their sites.

At the same time though, the company will notify registered site owners by email 30 days before enforcement begins so that they can address any abusive notification issues and request that their site be reviewed again.

While site notifications in Chrome can be useful, they can also easily be abused. However, thanks to Google's new enforcement policies, users are less likely to have malware installed on their systems or their credentials stolen when they visit less than reputable sites.

Via BleepingComputer

Anthony Spadafora

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.