On Thursday, March 12th, Google published a new blog updating recent updates and improvements to their Safe Browsing application. The safe browsing application protects about 1.1 billion browser users, according to the blog post released to coincide with the 26th anniversary of the date when the World Wide Web was first created.
“Unwanted software” is a term that Google uses to describe programs automatically installed without a user’s permission that can change a browser’s settings. These new settings can lead to a barrage of ads or redirect a browser to search engines or other sites they did not want to go to.
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Google Safe Browsing protects from “unwanted software”
In a recent upgrade, Safe Browsing is now identifying websites with “unwanted software” as well as sites with malware or that are associated with phishing. While the upgrade initially only worked on the Chrome browser, it now also works to protect internet surfers on both Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox browser.
Of note, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer does not use the safe browsing application. Explorer uses another warning system called the SmartScreen Filter.
Safe browsing is so good at finding malware and phishing that the fraudsters are using unwanted software more frequently to hoodwink people, noted Stephan Somogyi, Google’s product manager of safe browsing.
“The folks trying to make a buck off people are having to come up with new stuff and that puts us in a position where we have to innovate to keep pace with these guys,” Somogyi commented in a recent interview. “You are now going to see a crescendo in our enforcement on sites that meet our standard of having unwanted software.”
More on Google Safe Browsing
Safe Browsing helps users avoid dangerous sites. The sites Safe Browsing identifies are broken into two categories: sites that attack users intentionally with malware, phishing, or unwanted software that is deceptive or difficult to uninstall, and sites that attack users unintentionally because they have been compromised (typically the site owner doesn’t know his/her site is now dangerous).
Once the app detects problem sites, Safe Browsing warns people by pop up messages and other methods.