January 9, 2012Dancho Danchev By Dancho Danchev

Google announces new anti-malware features in Chrome

by Dancho Danchev

Google Inc. recently announced a new security feature in its Chrome browser.

The feature will alert Chrome users every time they’re about to download a potentially malicious executable file.

More on the feature:

To help protect you against malicious downloads, Chrome now includes expanded functionality to analyze executable files (such as “.exe” and “.msi” files) that you download. If a file you download is known to be bad, or is hosted on a website that hosts a relatively high percentage of malicious downloads, Chrome will warn you that the file appears to be malicious and that you should discard it.

Just how effective is the new feature? Let’s put it on the test, by using the ubiquitous EICAR test file. The file passed by Chrome detection mechanism like charm, mainly because the eicar.org site isn’t currently flagged as malicious by Google’s Safe Browsing initiative. Which is how the feature works for the time being.

Google’s latest security feature cannot replace complete antivirus solutions, nor can it reach levels of protection as the ones offered by Webroot SecureAnywhere for instance. Google’s main intention is to offer layered protection for the users of its browser – definitely a step in the right direction.

Just how secure is Google’s Chrome in general? According to a study published in December, 2011, based on the comparative review of Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox, Chrome is the most secure browser with its layered protection mechanisms.

Naturally, the research excluded outdated and unpatched versions of Chrome, including third-party browser plugins such as Java and Flash, despite the fact that cybercriminals continue exploiting vulnerable browser plugins and third-party applications on a potential victim’s machine.

Users are advised to ensure that they’re not running any outdated software, next to browser plugins.

You can find more about Dancho Danchev at his LinkedIn Profile. You can also follow him on  Twitter.

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