Advertising giant Google has announced an expansion to its Safe Browsing technology which will now start scanning for Trojan horse packages as well as outright malware.
Built into both the company's search services and its Chrome browser and Chrome OS operating system, and commonly referenced by third-party software like Firefox, Safe Browsing maintains a list of files, sites and domains that host malware. Should a user click on a link to such a site, their traffic is redirected and a warning displayed that must be explicitly dismissed in order to load any data from the blocked site.
It's a service that sees heavy usage. 'We’re currently showing more than three million download warnings per week,
' claimed Google Security engineer Moheeb Abu Rajab in a blog post
on the changes, 'and because we make this technology available for other browsers to use, we can help keep 1.1 billion people safe.
From next Monday, Safe Browsing will expand from warning on actively malicious software to what the malware industry has termed 'potentially unwanted programs.' These Trojan horses are typically advertising-themed, promising anything from a tool to speed downloads and update drivers to an animated cursor but in actuality modifying system settings to redirect traffic through an advertising-funded website. With Google making the overwhelming majority of its income from driving eyeballs to its own advertising services, the move is perhaps unsurprising.
'We’ll show a warning in Chrome whenever an attempt is made to trick you into downloading and installing such software,
' explained Rajab. 'If you still wish to proceed despite the warning, you can access it from your Downloads list.