The Chrome browser has been updated by Google, in an effort to thwart phishers who try to hijack the browser using malware. Even though a reset button was added to Google’s settings last year, the search giant clearly felt that it wasn’t enough. Apparently browser hijackings are on the increase, and something else was needed to reinforce Chrome’s defenses.
Now, if the browser detects that your settings have been changed without your knowledge, a box will pop up asking you if you want the browser settings to be reset (image above).
Well….not quite. Ironically, some users on Arstechnica have pointed out that such a box is the sort of thing they wouldn’t click on, if it suddenly came up on the screen. How do they know it really came from Google? Isn’t this the sort of thing that Google is telling everyone not to do? One commenter explained:
“If I saw that popup I’d worry that it was malware masquerading as Chrome and be very leery of clicking it.”
Another commenter on the site added:
“That looks like the kind of message I tell my mum to avoid, or to talk about with me before she does anything. Not sure if I’d bother teaching her how to identify it, as I’d assume someone will develop malware to closely resemble it. May not be as useful as intended.”
The second commenter makes a valid point. What’s to stop a malware maker from making a spoof Chrome warning box, which would install malware?
If you do decide to click that box, you will have to remember that all of your extensions, themes, and Chrome apps will be deactivated. They can be manually reactivated one by one, by going into your settings, so don’t worry – nothing will get uninstalled.
It was reported last month that malware makers were buying up well known and popular Chrome extensions, and inserting malicious advertising code into them. Not realizing that the extensions were now the property of someone else, users kept on installing them. One high profile person on the Web who was particularly stung was Amit Argawal who runs the highly popular tech blog Digital Inspiration.
When I saw the article title, I thought, “great, that’s useful”. I genuinely thought that. But, the commenters are right – it’s the kind of message that can be copied, so who’s to say which one is genuine and which one isn’t.
I know Google’s trying to make itself useful, but what they came up with might not be the best answer. It might actually make it easier for the browser hijackers.
Let me see. This is a good thing and a bad thing. It is a good thing because it protects you. But what if you are downloading something and it is not really ‘malicious’ and it is blocked? That’s where problems come in.
Ah, that’s another potential problem! I didn’t think about that.
Hmm, perhaps they should scrap it altogether – go back to the drawing board. It seems more trouble than it’s worth, especially if the whole premise is to protect/solve a problem. It could potentially create more issues.