Monday, November 4, 2013

Google adds new layer of defense against “bad” Chrome plug-ins – and tests malware blocker

Users of Google’s Chrome browser will be able to “purge” rogue plug-ins, after attacks where a supposedly helpful browser add-on contains malware – a tactic adopted by cybercriminals, as reported by ESET Distinguished Researcher Aryeh Goretsky here.

Chrome users will be able to employ an additional defense against such attacks, Google said, saying the feature has been added to block against attacks where malware is disguised as or bundled with “a free screensaver, a video plugin or – ironically, a supposed security update.” Goretsky said, “Our threat researchers found during an otherwise routine examination of the Orbit Downloader software package found a popular utility containing additional code for performing Denial of Service (DoS) attacks.”

Google said that such malware was particularly problematic as, “they block your ability to change your settings back and make themselves hard to uninstall, keeping you trapped in an undesired state.”

 “We’re taking steps to help, including adding a “reset browser settings” button in the last Chrome update, which lets you easily return your Chrome to a factory-fresh state. You can find this in the “Advanced Settings” section of Chrome settings,” the company said.

 The latest version of Google’s Canary build of Chrome – the test version which the search giant updates daily – also automatically blocks downloads of executable files which the company detects as malware.
“We’ll  automatically block downloads of malware that we detect,” the search giant said in a blog post last week – in which it also added new features to defend against rogue plug-ins.

Canary scans all downloaded executable files, and if any are recognized as malware they are automatically blocked, and the user sees an error window instead. “You can click “Dismiss” knowing Chrome is working to keep you safe,” the company said.

Canary is the “bleeding edge” version of Google’s browser, according to The Register, and while, as Google admits, it is “prone to breakage,” The Register said, “It tends to be extremely fast and seems to have a mildly smaller memory footprint than stock Chrome.”

Chrome’s detection of malware, using asystem called Content Agnostic Malware Protection, has increased dramatically, according to a report in Computer World.

According to Computer World, Chrome’s ability to spot and block malware has increased from a 70% blocking rate in 2012 to 83% in 2013.


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